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FAQ: PET/CT Scanning

Are there any side effects?
You will feel no side effects from the radioactive injection.
What do I do after the test is finished?
You may go home when the study is finished and resume your regular diet and medication. You are encouraged to drink water to help clear the radioactivity from your body.
How do I find out about my test results?
Test results will be forwarded to your physician within two days.
Can I have a PET/CT scan if I am allergic to contrast dyes?
Can I take my medication the morning of the test?
Yes, unless it is for diabetes. All diabetic medication should be brought with you to the scanner. Please also bring your home glucometer.
Can I eat or drink the day before my test? The day of my test?
For a PET or PET/CT scan there is a specific diet that needs to be followed. Please follow a no sugar, low carbohydrate diet for 24 hours prior to your exam. No food or drink is allowed (except water) for four hours prior to your exam. If you are also having a PET mammography following your PET scan, please bring a snack to eat following your whole body exam. If your exam is specifically for imaging the brain only, then you do not need to follow the diet, just don’t have any food or drink for two hours prior to your appointment.
Can I exercise the day before?
Only routine light exercise.
Can I drink alcohol the night before?
It is best not to have alcohol.
Can I have caffeine?
It is best to only have water on the day of the test.
How long is the test?
Two to three hours.
Why does it take so long?
We must wait sixty minutes after the injection of the isotope before we can start the scan. The scan itself only takes forty minutes.
Can I wear body jewelry?
It would be best to come without any body jewelry.
How is a PET/CT scan different from a CT scan?
The PET let’s us look at glucose or sugar uptake by the cells of your body. The CT scan lets us get a clear image of the organs and tissues. Therefore, the PET scan defines sugar utilization of the tissues and a CT scan defines location and size, i.e. anatomy.

If your question wasn’t answered, please call 805-682-7300.