What is a Nuclear PET-CT Scan?
PET-CT stand for Positron Emission Tomography combined with Computed Tomography.
A PET-CT Scan uses radioactive materials (radiotracers). The radiotracer is injected and travels in the bloodstream to the area being examined and gives of beta+ rays that can be detected by a special camera (PET-CT camera). A computer is then used to create images out of this information. The PET-CT scan can detect where the radiotracer goes to and images the area.
Is it safe ?
The amount of radiation you’re exposed to from the radiotracer is small and will not affect your body. The benefits of having a PET-CT scan far outweighs the minimal risk from radiation.
Can I bring a friend or relative with me ?
Yes, but for safety reasons they will have to leave the department once you receive the injection containing the radiotracer. They may return 1,5 hours later to keep you company after the exam.
Please note – Children will not be allowed in the department whilst you are having the examination, you will also be informed not to come near children or someone pregnant for 16 hours after the exam. You will need to make childcare arrangements for them before you come for your appointment.
Do I need an injection?
The radiotracer is given as an injection through a needle (known as a cannula) mostly inserted into a vein in your arm or at the back of your hand. The cannula will be kept in place until the end of the exam and removed before you leave the department.
The radiotracer does not contain any iodine making this safe for anyone with an iodine- or contrast allergy.
What do I need to do before my PET-CT?
Please contact us before your scan appointment if you:
Please note that PET-CT exams will need prior insurance approval before booking the appointment.
You will be required to follow a special diet for 24 hours prior to the exam. The dietary instructions will be given to you at the time of booking the appointment.
What happens during my appointment?
When you arrive at Clemenceau Medical Center, head to the Radiology reception desk on the Second Floor where you will be registered, and insurance or payment details taken. If you are covered by insurance, please bring your insurance membership number and authorisation code with you.
At the Radiology Department Reception, the front desk staff will check your identity and inform the Nuclear Medicine Technologist of your arrival. The Nuclear Medicine Technologist will again verify your identity, take relevant medical history and explain the procedure. Feel free to ask any question that you may have.
The technologist or nurse will check your blood pressure, blood sugar and will then insert the cannula in a vein in your arm. You will then have to wait for one hour to let your body relax before you are given with the radiotracer. You will then be left stay in a room for about one hour for the medication to be properly absorbed. During this time, you will need to relax as much as possible.
When it is time for the scan, the technologist will ask you to empty your bladder. You can choose to either wear your own comfortable clothes (with no metal – i.e. zippers, buttons, tie tips, embellishments) or change into a hospital gown. You will be asked to remove all jewellery and secure facilities will be provided for your belongings during the procedure.
A PET-CT scan can take up to 20 minutes but the total procedure, including preparations and uptake time (the time you will have to wait between injection and scan), can take up to 4 hours. In some cases, you could be asked to have a second scan (delayed image).
Please bring the following to your appointment:
Will I be comfortable ?
We will make you as comfortable as possible . You will need to lie very still during the scan to avoid blurring the images.
Straps and pillows may be used to help maintain the correct position and to help you keep still during the examination. You may feel some discomfort and tiredness from staying in the same position for a prolonged time.
The table will move in and out of the round gantry. The machine looks similar to a standard CT scanner. Please inform the Technologist if you are claustrophobic.
What happens during my scan?
The Technologist will take you into the scanning room and help position you for the scan. You will be laying down on the scanner table with your arms above your head.
The Technologist operating the scanner will leave the room but can hear you when you talk and will never leave you alone. It is very important to lie still during the images.
What happens after my scan?
After your exam is finished, you will be requested to wait a little bit so the technologist can check the images. If needed, extra images will be obtained.
You can eat and drink as normal and resume your usual activities straight after the scan. You will have to follow the radiation safety instruction given to you for 16 hours.
Are there any side-effects ?
There are no known side-effects from having a PET-CT Scan. However, if you experience anything unusual, please contact the department for advice.
When will I get the results ?
Within 48 hours the Nuclear Medicine Physician will analyse your images and generate a report for your Doctor or Consultant. If a follow-up appointment is not already arranged, you will need to contact your Doctor or Consultant to make an appointment to discuss your results.