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Who has had a PET SCAN what can you tell me about it?

Grandma X 6
Posts: 133
Joined: Mar 2010

Boy does it ever end? Went for a ct scan on Thursday now have to go for Pet scan. They saw some shadows ans something in the liver Dr thinks it may be a sist. How are these scans done? I did not like the MRI I hope it is not the same type of machine. What can you share with me. It will be done a week form tomorrow,it will be a long week. Thanks in advance. My prays go out to all of you daily. All we can all do is take it one day at a time.I'm getting so tired of all of it. Cindy

Posts: 399
Joined: Jul 2009

I had one recently. I thought it was similar to having an MRI. Those tests do not bother me, except for some discomfort laying still on the slab. They did put a triangular lift under my knees, and that helped. I put my mind in my "happy place" until it's over. I hope you do well with yours. If they are concentrating on your liver, the machine might not even come close to your face. Hugs. Gracie

pinkflutterby's picture
Posts: 615
Joined: Jun 2009

Ive had several and am having another next month. The machine is somewhat similar to the mri machine but you move through it, not just slide in and its quiet, kinda humms. Its open on both ends. When you first enter you hold your breath for 3 different scans. Thats the worse part of it to me, that and being COLD in the room. The slab deal is a little uncomfortable but bearable. The day before is also whats hard for me the fasting or limited eating you are allowed to do/have. I think the pet scan takes better images of organs. The entire scan is about 25 mins long. O and they inject some radioactive stuff in your arm and you have to still and relax for an hour before the scan.

Good luck with yours :)

Grandma X 6
Posts: 133
Joined: Mar 2010

Thanks for the information.They are using the radioactive stuff I hate all the IV. I do have a port but a lot places you go will not activate them and since it is a Sat my onc,office is closed. It will be a long stressful week for me and my family. How long does it take to get the results? Cindy

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

I have had about 5 PET/CT (combined or fusion) scans. If you have just a PET or they don't do contrast, your procedure may vary. Here is what I remember.
1. You drink some chalky stuff (contrast)
2. You wait about 15-30 min (can't remember exactly how long)
3. If you have a port, they will then infuse a small amount of radiotracer. Then they want you to lie very still for about an hour. I ask for extra blankets and I take a good nap. I am serious--I have fallen asleep every single time!
4. You are moved to another room and you lie down and the machine scans you. The scan itself takes only about 20 min.

That's it! So don't be scared as it is pretty painless--especially since you have a port!

DianeBC's picture
Posts: 3886
Joined: Jun 2009

It is like the others said, like a MRI. A Pet Scan is good, so, try not to worry about it. Wishing you good luck with it.

Hugs, Diane

Marsha Mulvey
Posts: 597
Joined: May 2010

Just a couple of differences, perhaps not worth mentioning, but here goes. First of all they get a much better (more detailed) look from a PET vs a CT. The time it takes depends on exactly how much area they're looking at. (Probably about 20 minutes like Cynthia said.) It was much more comfortable for me than the MRI - no loud banging and such. One more thing, though I have a port, they never used it for any of my scans. Once they used a vein in my hand and the other times on top of the elbow. If we can "like" any of the tests, I think you'll like this one. Let us know how it goes. Best wishes.

Ritzy's picture
Posts: 4382
Joined: Aug 2009

Just wishing you good luck with your PET scan. Let us know how everything goes with you and your results when you can.

Sue :)

heidijez's picture
Posts: 441
Joined: Mar 2010

actually, the machine is very similar to a ct scan. i am extremely claustrophobic when it comes to mri - even open mri. i need to be knocked out in order to have an mri. i have had three pet scans, the first one was before i had a port, so i had an iv in my hand. the other two times, they accessed my port.

i have no problems with the petscan - not claustrophobic at all. it is a big donut and the table slides through it. you are never totally enclosed.

i hope this helps you, cindy, like i said, i think petscans are a breeze! (ct scans too)

i will be there beside you, holding your hand through the whole process, you will do just fine!

hugs from heidi!

cahjah75's picture
Posts: 2631
Joined: Jun 2010

I had a PET scan after my 1st chemo. I've also had many MRI's and CTs over the past 4 years because of many surgeries and knee & lumbar arthritis. I'm not claustrophobic so none of them bother me. The breast MRI was the longest and the worse was the stereostatic MRI assisted biopsy. But after they were over it was no big deal. As for PET scan, the nurse/tech pricked my finger to test blood sugar. Then a radioactive/tracer iv was started in my arm. I had to sit for 30 minutes quietly while the "stuff" went into my body. The PET machine looks much like a MRI (big round tube but flatter). You lay on your back and I'm so short mine took about 20 minutes compared to 45 minutes. The table you lie on moves you at different intervals. Because I had bc the machine took pics from my face to my knees (which were supported by a form). I got the results from my oncologist the following week. Good luck with yours. I'll be thinking of you.
{{hugs}} Char

linpsu's picture
Posts: 747
Joined: Mar 2010

The PET scan was nothing like an MRI! I am extremely claustrophobic and completely freak out when I have to have an MRI - even medication does not alleviate my fear of those. The PET scan was a breeze in comparison - your body is never fully encased by the machine and there is none of that loud banging noise going on. Most of the other ladies described the same process I had - fasting, blood sugar test, radioactive dye being injected, waiting for one hour, then about 20 minutes of lying on a table while the big donut moves around you. Can't remember the time to get the results - maybe one week - that was the hardest part! You will do fine!!!

Posts: 3659
Joined: Aug 2009

The only problem I had with PET scan was my back and shoulder hurt BAD! But that is due to arthritis I have in my back and with having to reach over my head and hold the bar made it HURT. (Rads always caused pain too but as the time was so much shorter - not a problem.) I didn't have my port yet then so vein was used. The only test that my port has been used for was the last CT - honestly as I have great veins (the hospital had no numbing spray and it HURT to access it) so I'd just as soon have then use them for injection.

SIROD's picture
Posts: 2199
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi Cindy,

Years ago when a ct scan picked up "something" on my liver, I had an ultra-sound. I was told if it was a cyst, the wave sounds would go through it, if it was a tumor then the sound would not. Unfortunately for me, the area was behind rib bones.

I decided to give it a few weeks and have another ct scan. The area in question was the same, and it was watched. It was not liver metastasis at any rate.

Perhaps you could inquire if an ultra-sound might be done first and hopefully won't be hiding behind a rib.

You have plenty of replies on the PET Scan.

Best to you,


elizarose's picture
Posts: 125
Joined: Nov 2009

I've had 3 PET scans and off all the scans and tests I've had, it was the easiest. I didn't have to drink anything. They prick my finger to check my blood sugar and then give an injection through IV. Then I lay still for an hour and the actual scan only lasts about 25 minutes. The machine is quiet. Try not to stress about it. My doc always had the results the same day.


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