This information is for patients who have been referred for a PET scan at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). This information should help you plan for your scan and know what to expect.
- Before the Scan
- During the Scan
- After the Scan
- If You Are Diabetic
- PET Scan Results
- Getting to Huntsman Cancer Hospital
After your referring physician has sent a written request and the procedure has been authorized by your insurance company, a Molecular Imaging staff member will call you to schedule an appointment.
If you are diabetic or need oxygen supply during the exam, please let us know.
- Do not smoke for at least two hours prior to the scan.
- Take all of your regular medications on the day of your exam (take your medications with water).
- Do not exercise for 24 hours prior to the scan.
- Drink several glasses of water the day of your scan. You may empty your bladder as normal.
You will be asked to rest quietly during the radiopharmaceutical injection to allow your body's cells to take in the tracer (approximately 1 to 1.5 hours). You will then be taken into the scanner room for imaging.
The PET scanner is a donut-shaped device with a padded examination table. You will be asked to lie flat on the scanner table, which is designed to slowly move you through the center of the scanner ring. It is important that you remain relaxed and breathe normally during the series of scans. The scan itself will take about 1 hour. The total time for a PET examination is about 3 hours.
Family and friends accompanying you will be asked to stay in the waiting room unless they prefer to leave and return after your PET scan is complete. They are also welcome to visit the Cancer Learning Center, a free resource library with books, CDs, DVDs, and internet access, on the first floor of the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). The Point Restaurant on the sixth floor of HCI or The Point Bistro on the sixth floor of HCH are also options.
After the Scan
Following the completion of your scan, you may resume your normal activities and diet. The small amount of radioactive tracer that you received during the exam will decay rapidly and be excreted from your body (mainly through urination). You are encouraged to drink plenty of fluids and empty your bladder frequently during the first several hours after your exam.
Make sure your glucose levels are below 180 for several days prior to the PET scan. Call the Nuclear Medicine scheduling desk at (801) 581-2370 if your glucose levels are running higher than 180. The PET study may need to be re-scheduled if blood sugars are consistently above 180. This decision will be made at the discretion of a nuclear medicine physician.
Appointments before 11:30 a.m.: Withhold diabetic medication(s) but take all other prescribed medication. Bring your medication/insulin with you to your appointment.
Appointments after 12 noon: Mid-day take all diabetic and prescribed medication; eat a small, sugar-free meal six hours before the PET scan appointment. Bring your medication/insulin with you to your appointment.
If the PET scan is being done to evaluate your heart, you should fast for four hours before your appointment and to have a light, non-protein breakfast or meal prior to the four-hour fast.
PET Scan Results
A radiologist will review the results of your exam. PET scan images will be correlated with the findings of any other imaging studies (CT or MRI) and a written report of the PET scan findings will be sent to your doctor—usually within 48 hours.
You will receive two bills for your PET scan. University Hospital Patient Accounting will bill you for the scan and University Medical Billing will bill you for the radiologist's interpretation of your scan.
Getting to Huntsman Cancer Hospital
View a map of Huntsman Cancer Institute and Hospital
We encourage you to use our free valet parking service. Just follow the signs for valet parking as you approach the hospital. If you prefer to self-park, follow the signs for visitor parking.