Preparing for a positron emission tomography (PET) scan
Prior to the PET scan, tell your healthcare provider:
- If you've had a bad allergic reaction in the past.
- About your health condition like diabetes or pregnancy.
- About the medications and supplements you are taking.
- If you have claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces).
You will likely be advised to:
- Avoid strenuous exercises or activities a day before the PET scan.
- Fast a few hours before the PET scan.
During a positron emission tomography (PET) scan
A PET scan is a safe and painless procedure. However, if you suffer from claustrophobia or the fear of enclosed spaces, you may be concerned about entering the machine. Please discuss this with your healthcare provider so that optimal care will be tailored for you.
A PET scan takes around 30 minutes. It may take longer if special views or MRI are required. You must remain still throughout the procedure as movements can cause blurring to the resulting images. The technologist will give you instructions, such as when to hold your breath and when to remain still. During the scan, you may hear buzzing and clicking sounds.
After a positron emission tomography (PET) scan
Unless otherwise instructed by your doctor, you will be allowed to carry on with your usual activities after a PET scan. You will be instructed to drink at least 5 glasses of water.
Notify the nuclear medicine technologist immediately or contact your doctor if you feel the following symptoms after the scan:
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy eyes
- Hives and rashes
- Tremors and pain
- Nausea and vomiting