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first PET scan for me. What to expect ?

toddi1973's picture
Posts: 41
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi y'all !

I got the appointment set up -finally- and will go for my first PET scan next week to get some clear understanding of where I stand.
This uncertainty has driven me bonkers and I am looking forward to at least knowing what I am up against after 7 months of this rollercoaster.

However, as this is the first one, I have no idea what to expect. Is there an issue with the Ostomy like there was in the MRI tube ? Do I need to watch for anything specific not to eat/drink ?
How long is this process going to take ?
How long until they have results afterwards ?

Any info is appreciated.

Thanks and best health to all of you !


peterz54's picture
Posts: 345
Joined: Feb 2012

Todd, my wife went through a PET/CT and it was around 20 minutes. There is an issue with eating ahead of time to limit glucose spikes... you will probably need to fast. check with the place you are getting the scan. if it is like my wife's scan, the PET works by illuminating areas where radioactive glucose it taken in by cancer cells. Cancer cell metabolism is much faster than normal cells so they take up glucose faster.

results should be same day or next morning if orders are Stat. I always ask for a copy of the radiologist report for myself independent of the report sent to our oncologist.

thxmiker's picture
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

When one receives the contrast or the second part of the scan. It is not uncommon to feel flush. My ears feel hot every time. It goes away in an hour. I also smell the chemicals on me, my dog always realizes something weird happened to me and really sniffs over me hard. (Beagle)

It is a painless procedure.
Best Always, mike

Posts: 33
Joined: May 2010

I've always had separate CT and PET scans. pETs take longer and are more involved. You fast ahead of time so you aren't metabolizing any glucose except what they give you. You arrive, gown up, and sit in a quiet little room in comfy recliner. They give you the radioactive stuff -- i think it's a radioactive sugar -- thru vein or your port. Then you have to sit quietly for about an hour while it circulates. Really quietly... They don't want me even reading newspaper or having anyone with me talking. I think that's so you don't metabolize the sugar in your muscles. Midway thru the hour, they bring contrast for you to drink. Gatorade-like. Not bad. Then they run you thru the scanner, which is about like regular CT scan (not tubelike MRI). They play your choice of music, and you get about 4-6 songs before you're done. No prob w/ ileostomy that i recall. I empty before and then right after. No discomfort except for the needle stick. Don't remember if There was any delay on results.... My CT results are always same day, but pet might have been different. It's just a bit disconcerting to see how theyre staying way clear of that radioactive stuff thats being injected in your body.

Hope it goes well for you.

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