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Pet scan procedure

PET scan procedure


This Post is a continuation of the post what is pet scan. Please refer to this post if you haven’t already in order to make sense of this post. Thanks.

PET scan is a diagnostic imaging tool that is commonly used in cancer treatment, neurology and cardiology.  A PET scan can produce multidimensional and color images of the inside working of the body. One of the reasons why PET scan is recommended is because it shows how a human organs looks like and its functionality within the body.

When PET scan is used to detect cancer, it gives the doctor a perfect view of how the cancer grows and the degree at which it spreads to other areas. It also shows if the cancer is responding to chemotherapy. All these information will guide a doctor in recommending the right medications for the patient.

PET scan is a sensitive medical examination; it has its own unique procedures which are discussed below. The procedures discuss in this article are divided into three namely; Preparation for the PET scan, During the PET scan and after the entire process.

Preparation for the PET scan

  • Once you have fixed an appointment for a PET scan, you will be asked to take little or no carbohydrates 24hours before the Scan.
  • Patients are not allowed to eat any food or drink any juices for about 6 hours before the examination. The only thing that is allowed to take is water; it will be helpful in the PET scanning process.
  • Most times, patients are placed on routine medication except they have been advised otherwise. For patients that are diabetic, they must take their medication four hours before the examination.
  • It is strongly advisable to arrive 15-30 minutes before the actual PET scanning.
  • The technologist in the lab will verify your identity and ascertain if you were actually recommended to take the test.
  • A contrast screening form will be given to the patient to fill
  • Sometimes the doctor may ask the patient to take a lab test before the contrast form is given. It is based on the discretion of the doctor.
  • The contrast is injected into the vein so that the PET scan three dimensional image will be well defined throughout the body.

During the PET scan

  • There is not specific duration for the PET scan process, it differs. On the average you may spend about 2hours.
  • While in the examination center, the technologist will direct you to position yourself on the examination table. During this time you will be required to stay still and hold your breath.
  • You can ask the technologists question bothering on the entire PET scan process to clarify certain issues.

After the Procedure

  • Immediately after the PET scan, it is recommended that the patient takes about 5 glasses of water
  • Also after the examination, nursing mothers can’t breastfeed their babies immediately. Rather, they will wait for a minimum of 5 hours before they can resume their breast feeding activity for their baby.
  • After PET scan, there is tendency of patient feeling symptoms like tremors, pains, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, etc. If you notice any of these symptoms, notify the technologist immediately. They are trained to handle situations like this if they come up. However, if you notice the symptoms after leaving the examination center, notify your doctor immediately.