Types of imaging

PET/CT

PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography and Computed Tomography) combines the information from a PET scan and a CT scan into one single examination that helps doctors make an early diagnosis. The PET scan finds increased activity in the cells in your body and the CT provides information about the structure of your body. PET/CT is a painless and safe scanning method.

PET CT through bore
PETCT purple

Cobalt offers the following PET/CT scans:

  • FDG
  • NaF
  • Choline
  • Amyvid

Imaging technology

  • Siemens 128 mCT Flow Edge PET/CT scanner
Patient on PET

What to Expect

You will receive an injection of radioactive sugar. This behaves in a similar way to ordinary sugar in the body. Radioactive sugar is very safe and has no side effects.

You will need to lie and relax quietly on a bed for at least one and a half hours after the injection. You may bring some CDs or DVDs with you to listen to or watch. It is important that you relax all your muscles because the radioactive sugar is travelling around your system. You will then have the scan. You will need to lie on your back with your arms placed above your head.

If you think you will have problems doing this, please tell the radiographer when you arrive.

PET CT control room

How long does a PET/CT scan take?

You will have to wait and relax for 90 minutes after your injection. The scan will take between 20–30 minutes.

  • Keep hydrated with water unless you are on fluid restrictions.
  • Do not eat or drink anything (except water) for at least six hours before your scan. This includes chewing gum, mints, cough drops and Nicorette gum.
  • If you are diabetic:
    • insulin dependent-carry on as normal with breakfast and insulin
    • tablet controlled-follow fasting instructions and do not take diabetic medication diet controlled-follow fasting instruction
    • diet controlled-follow fasting instruction
  • If you have a feeding tube, do not have anything (except water) through it for six hours before your appointment.
  • If you have to take any medications with food, ask your doctor whether you should skip your morning dose, take it later in the day, or take it without food for your scan.
  • Please arrive on time as the tracer you will be given is ordered specifically for you and
    only works for a short time.
  • Do not do anything strenuous (for example, aerobics or jogging) for at least 24 hours before the scan.
  • If you are extremely claustrophobic or tend to be extremely nervous and fidgety, talk to your doctor about whether you could take a tranquiliser before coming for your PET/CT scan. Take this before you arrive for your scan.
  • Wear comfortable clothing, and if possible avoid clothing with metal snaps, buttons and zips.
  • You should not eat for six hours prior to your appointment time, though you should drink plenty of plain water, but please avoid water which is flavoured or diluted with cordial.
  • For brain scans patients only need to fast for 3 hours prior to your appointment time and keep hydrated.
  • Please avoid any strenuous exercise 24hrs prior to your appointment (muscles use glucose to replace glycogen stores).
  • Please continue to take your usual medication on the day of the scan including painkillers (unless you need to take food with them). Bring your medication with you should it coincide with your scan time.

Confirm your appointment

It is very important that you confirm your appointment as we need to order the radioactive sugar to be delivered. If you have not confirmed your appointment slot, we may
give it to someone else. It is also important that you are here on time as we cannot delay scans.

PET CT laying on scanner

How do I get my results?

The scan is usually reviewed within 48 hours and the result will be sent to the doctor who referred you for the PET/CT scan within 4-5 working days. If you have an appointment with your doctor sooner please inform us at the time of your appointment.

Mobile PETCT

Mobile PET/CT hire

Referrer survey

Make a referral

PET/CT FAQ's

If you have any questions or queries, we are happy to help so please do not hesitate to get in touch. Alternatively, please look at the questions we are asked most often.

Referral FAQ's

Cobalt does not provide health screening scans. If a scan is clinically needed, we require a referral from a medical professional, for PET/CT this will be a consultant.

No, we do not accept self-referrals.

We need a medically qualified practitioner to refer you for a scan. For PET/CT scans this will be a Consultant.

Reports are usually completed in 2 working days and sent to your referrer, however we state up to 5 working days to ensure it is received by your referrer within this time.

Positron Emission Tomography. A PET scan finds increased activity in the cells in your body. It is a safe and painless scanning method.

CT is computerised tomography and is used to provide a picture of the structure inside your body. A special type of X-ray machine is used to produce cross sectional images of your body. This involves being exposed to a small amount of radiation. The dose is equivalent to the amount of natural radiation you would receive over a period of three years.

MRI uses a powerful magnet providing high quality images. Surfaces, cartilage, ligaments and muscles can be seen in greater detail.

Before my scan FAQ's

The accuracy of the PET/CT scan depends on your body’s metabolic activity. You can control this using the instructions below. It is extremely important that you follow these instructions.

  • Try to keep hydrated with water unless you are on fluid restrictions.
  • Do not eat or drink anything (except water) for at least six hours before your scan. This includes chewing gum, mints, cough drops and Nicorette gum.
  • If you have a feeding tube, do not have anything (except water) through it for six hours before your appointment.
  • If you have to take any medications with food, ask your doctor whether you should skip your morning dose, take it later in the day, or take it without food for your scan.
  • Please arrive on time as the tracer you will be given is ordered specifically for you and only works for a short time.
  • Do not do anything strenuous (for example, aerobics or jogging) for at least 24 hours before the scan.
  • If you are extremely claustrophobic or tend to be extremely nervous and fidgety, talk to your doctor about whether you could take a tranquiliser before coming for your PET/CT scan. Take this before you arrive for your scan.
  • Wear comfortable clothing, and if possible avoid clothing with metal snaps, buttons and zips.

Yes, it is very important that you confirm your appointment as we need to order the radioactive sugar to be delivered specially. If you have not confirmed your appointment slot, we may give it to someone else. It is also important that you are here on time as we cannot delay scans.

Please inform us when you ring to confirm your appointment if any of the following applies to you:

  • You have had chemotherapy in the last four weeks.
  • You have had radiotherapy in the last three to six months.
  • You have had surgery in the last three to sixth months.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • You found previous CT or MRI scans difficult to tolerate.
  • You have diabetes.

During my scan FAQ's

As long as possible but around 6 hours after your scan, you can cuddle them etc.

Breast feeding can resume 24 hours after the scan.

Please inform us at the time of booking your scan if you are a diabetic so we can make sure we make the necessary preparations prior to your scan on the day. We will advise you what and when to eat and what medications you should bring in with you. The amount of radioactive glucose you will be given is not enough to affect your diabetes.

CT is computerised tomography and is used to provide a picture of the structure inside your body. A special type of X-ray machine is used to produce cross sectional images of your body. This involves being exposed to a small amount of radiation. The dose is equivalent to the amount of natural radiation you would receive over a period of three years.

MRI uses a powerful magnet providing high quality images. Surfaces, cartilage, ligaments and muscles can be seen in greater detail.

Usually it is possible to wear your own clothes, if we need you to wear a special gown we will provide this for you.

Accessibility FAQ's

Yes, there is plenty of free parking on site at the Imaging Centre.

Please bring your wheelchair with you, or we have a limited number of wheelchairs available in our Reception Area.