What is PET/CT?

PET/CT is an imaging tool that combines a PET scan with a CT scan. PET uses a small amount of radioactive tracer to see if there is disease or an abnormality within the body. The CT scan uses x-rays to see anatomical structures within the body. PET/CT is mainly used for diagnosis, staging or restaging malignant disease and metastases and evaluation of treatment response. It may also be used to differentiate between dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease. When the two scan are combined, they provide valuable information about the location, nature of and extent of the lesion. It answers questions like: Where is the tumor, how big is it is it malignant, benign or due to inflammatory change and has the cancer spread?

How do I prepare for the exam?

Dietary intake prior to your PET/CT scan greatly affects the quality of your images. Refer to the diet instructions that follow to help prep your body for best results. We have included a list of example foods to avoid and to consume in preparation for your PET scan. Avoid strenuous physical activity for 48 hours prior to your scan. If your physician has prescribed sedatives or muscle relaxants for your scan, please fill the prescription and remember to arrange for a ride to and from our facility.

Day Prior to PET/CT Scan
Confirmation of your appointment is crucial to ensure that the imaging agent for your test is ordered. A scheduler will call to confirm your appointment. Alternatively, you can call us directly at (432) 221-5360 or (432) 221-1904 at least 24 hours prior to your scan. Consumption of food must end by midnight on the day prior to your PET/CT scan, unless you have an afternoon appointment. Please refer to the afternoon instructions below. Drink as much water as you want, but remember no other liquids should be consumed.

Day of the PET/CT Scan
Please arrive 45 minutes before your scheduled time for the completion of any necessary paperwork. Please allow for 2.5 hours for your PET scans. The trained technologist injects a small amount of an imaging tracer prior to the scan. Injection of the tracer will not cause any side effects or reactions. Approximately an hour to an hour and a half later, the acquisition of your scan will begin. We will comfortably position you for the scan, which usually takes about 40 minutes to acquire.

Diet Instructions

For morning appointments (8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) Do not eat or drink anything other than water after midnight the night before your scan, including chewing gum, cough drops, breath mints, etc. Avoid sugars and caffeine. See accompanying diet list for examples. Take medications with water.

For afternoon appointments (12:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
Have a light breakfast before 7:00am. This should consist of protein (eggs, bacon, or cheese) and vegetables only. Please do not consume coffee, fruit, bread items, sugar or juice. Avoid sugars and caffeine. See accompanying diet list for examples. Take medications with water.

Diabetic Patients must take their medicine immediately after breakfast with the exception of insulin. If you take insulin, please let us know at the time we confirm your exam.

There are several important foods to avoid, including sugars and carbohydrates. Examples include:
Fruit, fruit juice or jelly
Bread, rolls, cakes or tortillas
Rice or pasta
Soft drinks or coffee
Yogurt, cereal or oatmeal
Chips, crackers or popcorn
Alcoholic beverages, beer or wine
Desserts or candy
Pizza dough, breading or fried foods
Potatoes, corn, onions or carrots

Many protein and vegetable foods are allowed, including:
Fish or seafood without breading
Chicken without breading
Pork, including breakfast meats such as bacon or ham
Red meat
Eggs, cheese or milk
Most salad dressings (Please check the label. The dressing should have fewer than five carbohydrates per serving).
Non-starchy vegetables including lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms or spinach