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

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning is an exam that shows the function and structure of organs and tissues. Patients are injected with a glucose solution, known in the field as FDG (18-Fluoro-deoxyglucose). Cells that require more glucose (sugar) than normal will show up on the images to have an increased uptake. Cancer cells require more glucose than normal cells and scar tissue, which is why this type of scan is used mainly for oncology.

To improve accuracy of the interpretation, 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 biochemically active cells (PET) and the other demonstrates the structure of the tissues and organs (CT). The combination of images improves the interpreting physician’s ability to determine exactly where in the body the changes are taking place.

Before the Test: 

  • Do not eat or drink anything other than plain water for 6 hours prior to your scan.
  • You may take your regular medications, unless they contain caffeine.
  • Do not chew gum or have breath mints/candies for 6 hours prior to your scan.
  • Do not exercise for 12 hours prior to the scan, and minimize your physical activity the full day prior to your PET scan.
  • DO NOT EAT OR DRINK sugary foods/drinks like cakes, pastries, white bread and rice, and pasta at dinner the night before your test. Choose higher protein foods such as nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese and dairy products, beans and vegetables for the full day prior to your test.
    Discontinue caffeine at dinnertime the evening before your PET scan.
  • Discontinue vitamins and supplements at dinnertime the evening before your PET scan.
  • Wear loose, comfortable layers of clothing free of metal buttons/zippers.
  • No children under the age of 18 are allowed on-site, as we are a nuclear medicine facility.
  • Notify the clinic if you or someone accompanying you may be pregnant/breast-feeding.
  • Please try not to wear perfume or other fragrances on the day of your scan.
  • Notify the clinic if you are suffering from any flu-like symptoms (fever, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, etc.)
  • If you are claustrophobic and require something to calm your nerves, please obtain this from your family physician prior to your appointment. Please also ensure you have someone available to drive you home following your scan if this is the case.

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

During the Test:

  • You will first be given a consent form and questionnaire to read and complete.
  • Your blood sugar level will be measured using a glucometer.
  • A radioactive, sugar-based, saline solution will be injected intravenously, which will enter the bloodstream. You will then be instructed to rest for approximately 45 minutes to allow the solution to distribute throughout the body.
  • Once rested, you will be asked to lie as still as you can during the scan. The imaging process takes approximately 30 minutes. You will be able to remain in communication with the technologist throughout the scan.
  • After your scan, the results of your test will be sent to your referring physician within 2 business days.
  • Please allow 2 – 2.5 hours for your entire appointment.

What to Bring:

Please ensure that you bring your health card and a list of all of the medications you are currently taking.