PET (positron emission tomography) is a scan that is performed along with a CT scan. It uses a radioactive tracer labelled to glucose, and looks for areas in the body that may have a higher than normal metabolic rate. It is used specifically to look for cancer cells, and mainly for secondary (metastatic) tumours.
Preparation for a PET-CT scan
The radiology company performing the scan will send you information about what to do. As a general guide, don’t perform vigorous exercise for 24 hours before the scan. Don’t eat for 6 hours prior to it, but you can have reasonable amounts of water in this time.
What does a PET-CT involve?
When you arrive for the scan you will have an intravenous needle inserted into a vein in your arm or back of your hand. You will receive an injection of the radiotracer, and then be asked to sit quietly for 60 to 90 minutes, to allow the tracer to distribute around your body. Just before the scan you will be asked to empty your bladder. You will then be asked to lie on the CT bed. The scan takes about 30 minutes.
Is it painful?
No, PET-CT is not painful. The intravenous cannula is small, and just feels like you are having a blood sample taken.
Are there any risks of PET-CT?
A small amount of radiation is involved in this examination. The risks of this are small in isolation. If you have had many radiological investigations over time, the total dose of radiation you are exposed to in you lifetime will add up. However, the benefits of getting information from the scan are greater than any small risk of radiation from the scan.
If you have any questions, please contact your chosen Radiology provider. The administration staff at East West Urology do NOT have information about your appointment times for radiology, and are not able to give medical advice or answer questions about radiological investigations. The staff are not able to give you your results – these need to be given to you either by the radiologist or by Nick Brook. Use the links below for contact details for the radiology companies in South Australia:
Radiology SA http://www.radiologysa.com.au
Benson Radiology http://bensonradiology.com.au
Dr Jones & Partners http://www.drjones.com.au
This information is intended as an educational guide only, and is here to help you as an additional source of information, along with a consultation from your urologist. The information does not apply to all patients.
Not all potential complications are listed, and you must talk to your urologist about the complications specific to your situation.