Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a test that uses special imaging cameras and a radioactive type of sugar to produce pictures of the function and metabolism of the cells in the body. Computerized Tomography (CT) is an X-ray test that generates a detailed view of the anatomy or structure of organs and tissues in the body. The CT scan can show the dimension of vessels, lymph nodes and organ systems. A PET/CT scan merges both technologies into a single machine. It provides a picture of function (PET), a picture of anatomy (CT) and a merged picture of both the body's metabolism and structure.

Preparation for Your Examination

  • Your physician or Imaging Services will inform you of specific instructions for preparations of a PET/CT
  • Inform your physician or PET/CT technologist if you believe there is a chance of pregnancy
  • You will be asked to complete a short PET/CT questionnaire
  • Your PET/CT examination will require an intravenous injection
  • Inform your physician or PET/CT technologist if you are diabetic
  • Please bring a list of your medications to your appointment
  • You will be asked to drink fluids after your PET/CT examination

PET/CT Examination Description

Prior to the exam you will receive a small injection of radioactive sugar (FDG). You will be asked to sit or lie down on a stretcher or sit in a chair for 30 to 60 minutes while the FDG travels throughout your body. The technologist will then assist you to the scanner. The CT portion of the exam is completed first, followed by the PET portion. You may be asked to hold your breath for several seconds while the CT scan is performed.

The length of the exam is determined by your height and the area of interest. Most PET/CT scans are typically completed within 20 to 40 minutes. When the total scan is finished, the computers will produce images for the doctor to review. If you have any questions, please contact the Imaging Services Department at (812) 237-1625.