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Located at the Southland Drive Outpatient Center, similar to a nuclear medicine scan, a PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scan is a diagnostic test that most commonly identifies cancer and the spread of cancer.

Before the scan, you're injected with a radioactive tracer. The tracer is a compound, such as sugar, labeled with a short-lived radioisotope. You are asked to rest for approximately 30 to 45 minutes while the radioactive compound distributes throughout your body, and is processed by the organs being evaluated. The technologist will ask you to lie on the scanner table, which will slowly pass through the scanner. The PET scanner detects and records the signals the tracer emits.

How to prepare:

  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Take any prescribed medications on the day of the exam, unless instructed not to do so by your physician.
  • Leave valuables at home.
  • Review patient exam preparation instructions.
  • Arrive on time for the exam.
  • Typically, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything four to six hours before the exam. If you are a diabetic, please notify the individual who is scheduling your PET exam.

You should feel fine after the exam. There are no documented side effects from the injected tracer. Most patients can expect to be at the PET facility for at least two hours. The type of study performed will determine the exact length of the exam.