• Procedure takes 2-3 hours
  • Administers a radioactive tracer
  • You may need to fast before the test
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Everything you need to know about PET/CT

How PET/CT scans work

PET CT imaging uses a radioactive tracer called a positron emitter. A small amount of this radiotracer is injected into a patient's vein. Images are then taken to show the distribution of the radiotracer in the body. A PET/CT scanner looks similar to a CT scanner.

A PET/CT scan can be used to examine many pathologies, including:

  • Cancer
  • Infection / inflammation
  • Brain function

What to expect

A PET/CT scan is a safe, non-invasive imaging procedure.

On arrival, you may be asked to change into a gown. The technologist will take a brief medical history and explain the procedure. A cannula is inserted, usually at the elbow, and the radioactive tracer injected.

You'll wait in the uptake room for 45-90 mins before entering the scanner room. There you'll lie on the scanner bed for 20-45 mins as images are taken. You may leave as soon as the scan is complete.

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The day of the PET/CT scan

6hrs prior to the scan
Start fasting (if required)
1 hour prior
Drink 2 glasses plain water
2 - 3 hrs procedure
The PET/CT scan
After the scan
Time to go home