Test Preparation
Positron Emisson Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT)

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a nuclear medicine scan that uses a radioactive sugar solution to create images of how your organs and tissues function, and to identify normal vs. abnormal (cancer) cells. When the sugar solution concentrates in certain areas of the body, the PET scan picks-up the pattern of radioactivity and creates 3-dimensional images. Different colours and degrees of brightness in a PET scan image represent different levels of organ and tissue function. Cancer cells require more sugar to function, and therefore, appear brighter in a PET scan image.

To improve the accuracy of the diagnosis, we have integrated a CT (Computed Tomography) scanner. The result is a fusion of two sets of images: One that depicts the functional images of abnormal cells (PET) and the other demonstrates the structure of the tissues and organs (CT). The combination of these images improves the physician’s ability to determine exactly where in the body the changes are taking place.

The Day Before Your Test: 

  • Do not consume sugary drinks or foods, such as juice, soda, rice, pasta, white bread or baked goods. Choose higher protein foods, such as nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, beans and vegetables.
  • Discontinue vitamins, supplements and caffeine the evening before your scan, and avoid consuming alcoholic beverages. You may take your regular medications, unless they contain caffeine.
  • Do not exercise for 12 hours prior to you scan. Minimize your physical activity for the full day prior to your scan.
  • If you are claustrophobic and require medication for your comfort, please obtain this from your family physician prior to your appointment.
  • Ensure you have someone available to drive you home following your scan if you require medication.

*If you are diabetic, please contact us for the additional fasting instructions and restrictions on your diabetic medications. See guide for additional instructions for diabetic patients

The Day of Your Test:

  • Do not eat or drink anything other than plain water for 6 hours prior to your scan.
  • Wear loose, comfortable layers of clothing that are free of metal buttons and zippers. Refrain from wearing perfume or other fragrances.
  • Please ensure that you bring your health card and a list of all of the medications you are currently taking.
  • No children under age 18, pregnant, breast-feeding or possibly pregnant females are allowed on-site, as we are a nuclear medicine facility.

During the Test:

1. You will be given a consent form and questionnaire to complete.
2. We will measure your blood sugar level using a glucometer.
3. A radioactive sugar solution called FDG (18-Fluorodeoxyglucose) will be injected intravenously into your bloodstream, and you will rest for 45 minutes to allow the solution to distribute throughout your body. Your technologist may request for you to drink a small amount of oral contrast to improve image quality.
4. You will be asked to lie as still as you can during the scan. The imaging process takes approximately 30 minutes, and you can communicate with your technologist throughout the scan.
5. After your scan, the results will be sent to your referring physician within 2 business days.

Please allow 2-2.5 hours for your entire appointment.

Click here to download the PET/CT Scan Patient Information brochure.