PET CT Scans

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We have locations around the region to make scheduling an appointment easier for you.

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PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computed Tomography) are standard imaging tools used to pinpoint disease states in the body. The fused images allow the radiologist to see both anatomic and physiologic changes in the body.

Common Uses

  • Cancer diagnosis
  • Identify biopsy location
  • Radiation therapy planning
  • Identify indications of disease or injury
  • Determine the most effective treatment plan
  • Assess the effectiveness of a treatment plan, such as chemo or radiation therapy
  • Determine if cancer has returned after treatment 

What to Expect

A PET/CT scanner looks similar to CT scanner. It uses a small amount of radioactive glucose called FDG, FluroDeoxyGlucose. This tracer shows doctors how cells in the body use glucose for metabolism.

Your nuclear medicine technologist will take a brief medical history, set an IV, check blood glucose level (BGL) and inject you.

After the injection, you will rest quietly in a recliner/chair for approximately 60 minutes to allow the dose to fully circulate in the body. This time will be spent in isolation to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure to friends/family.

You may bring reading material and/or electronic devices.

The scan will take about 12-15 minutes, but it may be longer depending on diagnosis. You will be positioned on your back and asked to remain still.

There are no side-effects to this medication. PETCT Machine


  • The night before your scan, restrict your diet to protein-only meals and avoid carbohydrates, such as potatoes, noodles, rice, biscuits, bread, pasta and anything sweet.
  • Do not eat or drink anything other than water or black coffee for the 6-hour period prior to your scan. Chewing gum and breath mints (even diet kind) are also excluded.
  • Drink plenty of water before and after your exam.
  • Non-diabetic patients can take any of their medications with water except for steroids.
    • Hold steroids until after the exam.
  • Do not exercise 24 hours prior to the exam.
  • Do not wear any clothing with metal in it. This includes underwires, zippers, snaps, etc.
  • Bring prior imaging to your appointment if performed at a non-NHRMC facility or Delaney Radiology.
  • Bring your own medicines for pain, anxiety or fear of being in a closed space (claustrophobia). If you need this type of medicine, contact your provider for a prescription as we do not provide them.
    • A driver is required for anyone taking anxiety medications
  • A PET technologist will attempt to contact the patient the day before the exam to remind the patient of the appointment prep and answer any questions.

    Important Information for Diabetics

    • Take morning and/or evening dose of metformin
    • If you take other medicine for diabetes (e.g. insulin), please contact the doctor who prescribed this medicine to ask what changes are needed in medication and diet, since you will not be eating carbohydrates either the night before or the day of the test
    • Not eating carbohydrates could cause your blood sugar to become dangerously low, particularly if you take insulin while fasting
    • If BGL (blood glucose level) is above 160 mg/dL at arrival, the exam will be rescheduled
    • Normal BGL for a non-diabetic can range from 70-110 mg/dL
    • You should check BGL prior to leaving house. If it is above 160 mg/dL, please call the PET department at 910.667.5112 to reschedule.

    Day of Your Exam

    Your exam will take place at the NHRMC Medical Mall.

    Arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. The tracer is effective for only a short period of time and if you are late to your appointment you may have to be rescheduled. You should plan to be at this appointment for 1.5-2 hours.

    Questions: Contact the PET/CT department at 910.667.5112.

    To Reschedule: Contact Centralized Scheduling at 910.667.8777.


    A board-certified radiologist will interpret your images. A report is sent to the ordering provider. Results are provided by the ordering provider and/or practice based on their policy.