PET Imaging

ACR Accredited
PET Scan

PET/CT scan is a highly advanced medical imaging tool. Positron emission tomography (PET) shows your body’s metabolic activity, while computed tomography (CT) shows your anatomy. When combined, the PET and CT scans show what’s happening inside your body, including both normal and abnormal metabolic activity, as well as the anatomic details of the area where the activity is taking place.

A PET/CT scan is most often used to detect a variety of common cancers or to determine the extent of spreading of a cancer or its response to therapy. PET/CT scans are also often used to assess neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s or certain cardiac conditions. This information can help your doctor better understand your condition and discuss with you the most effective next steps.

What happens during a PET/CT Scan?

A PET/CT scan is a non-invasive and painless procedure. Depending on the type of scan, it can be performed in two to two-and-a-half hours. 

A small amount of radioactive sugar compound is injected into your bloodstream.  The sugar circulates in your body while you relax for approximately 90 minutes.  You then lie on a bed that slowly passes through the scanner.  It’s very important that you do not move or adjust your position during the process so that the two scans can be aligned and fused together.

When the imaging procedure is complete, the scanner will send the information to a computer that both displays the PET and CT images side-by-side and “fuses” the images to maximize the information obtained by the scan.  A doctor who specializes in interpreting PET/CT images will review the information and provide a detailed report to your doctor, who will share the results with you.

The risks associated with PET/CT scanning are minimal.  The radioactive sugar compound, which is commonly called FDG, is short-lived and leaves your body quickly.  The radiation exposure associated with a PET/CT scan is similar to that associated with conventional imaging exams.

The Day Before Your PET/CT Scan

  • Do not eat anything after midnight on the night before your PET/CT scan, unless you are instructed otherwise.
  • If you have diabetes or other problems with your sugar, please call our office at 812-858-0080 to discuss special instructions.
  • It’s important that you stay hydrated.
  • Avoid all beverages with sugar.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise or physical activity for 24 hours before your appointment.
  • If you’re unable to lie flat for 30 minutes or are claustrophobic, please call our office at 812-858-0080.
  • Follow the special diet as noted below.

Follow a Special Diet

The quality of your scan may be improved if you eat a low-carbohydrate diet for at least 24 hours before your appointment. You may enjoy a variety of proteins and vegetables, such as: chicken or fish without breading, pork (including bacon or ham), beef, tofu, eggs, cheese, most salad dressings (check label for those under 5 grams of carbohydrates/sugar), non-starchy vegetables (lettuce, peppers, green beans, asparagus, tomatoes etc.).
Please avoid sugars and carbohydrates, such as: fruit and fruit juice, jelly, breads, rolls, cakes, tortillas, rice, pasta, yogurt, milk, cereal, oatmeal, chips, crackers, popcorn, pizza dough, breading on fried foods, starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, onions, carrots, beans etc.), soft drinks, coffee, alcoholic beverages. 

A Sample High-Protein, Low-Carb Diet

  • Two eggs, any style; bacon or sausage; black coffee (no sugar)
Lunch and Dinner:
  • Steak, chicken or salmon (grilled, baked or broiled)
  • Asparagus, broccoli or any other green vegetable
  • A slice or two of cheese
  • Water or diet soda

The Day of Your PET/CT Scan

  • Do not eat or drink anything except plain water within at least six hours of your appointment.  If your scan is scheduled for the afternoon, you may have a light breakfast early in the morning.  Remember to avoid carbohydrates as outlined on the previous page.
  • Unless you are on fluid restrictions, drink two glasses of water the morning of your scan.  Remember, it’s important to stay hydrated.
  • Take your prescribed medications the day of the exam, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.  If you are taking insulin or other diabetes medications, please call our office at 812-858-0080 to discuss special instructions.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.  Wear a minimum amount of metallic jewelry.
  • Please bring your current insurance cards and driver’s license or photo identification to your appointment.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.  The substance used in a PET/CT scan is very time-sensitive, so it’s important for you to arrive on time to help ensure an accurate scan.

Your Financial Responsibility

Most insurance companies and Medicare cover PET/CT scans.  Our staff will verify your insurance coverage.  You may be required to pay a co-payment or deductible.  Our staff will discuss your financial responsibility with you before your scheduled PET/CT scan and answer any questions you may have.

We appreciate the trust you’ve placed in Midwest Radiologic Imaging.  Your PET/CT scan is a vital tool in determining any necessary next steps in your health care.  Please let us know if you have questions.