Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a PET/CT scan? What is the difference between PET, CT, and PET/CT scans?

A. We have detailed information and explanations regarding PET scans located here.

2. Why do I need to restrict my diet?

A. The material we inject is a form of radioactive sugar. The amount we inject is so small that eating before the test or having diet high in sugars/carbohydrates will cause your body to absorb less of our tracer, causing suboptimal images.

3. Why shouldn’t I have caffeine?

A. We prefer you to avoid having anything with caffeine within 24 hours of the test because it will alter the distribution of the radiopharmaceutical throughout your body, specifically causing more to be absorbed by the heart than normal.

4. Why shouldn’t I exercise?

A. We recommend avoiding exercise or other strenuous activities for 12 hours before the test, as it will cause more of the injected material to be taken up by your muscles than normal. This creates a less accurate study.

5. How should I dress for the exam?

A. We recommend you dress comfortably and avoid wearing anything that has metal (jeans, bra, jewelry, etc.). Metal will block the x-rays during the image acquisition, causing that area of the pictures to have streaks and be difficult to read. If you do dress with metal, we have shirts and pants for you to change into.

6. Can I take my medications?

A. All of your normal medications should be fine and won't cause any kind of interaction with the test, unless you are diabetic (if you are, read below). If you have specific questions or concerns regarding medications, please give us a call.

7. What if I am diabetic?

A. If you are diabetic and take insulin you must not take any within four hours of your test. Other medications, such as metformin (Glucophage) are fine. Blood glucose levels are very important for our tests; therefore we prefer a stable blood sugar of under 200 mg/dl. We encourage our diabetic patients to call us with any questions or concerns (phone number: 315-464-2222).

8. I've had an allergic reaction to dyes before.

A. The reaction you had was to a contrast dye for CT or MRI scans. The material we inject is a small about of a radioactive tracer, which has no side effects or interactions whatsoever.

9. I have a port, can you inject using that?

A. We try not to use ports because the radioactive tracer we inject can cling to the lining of it. This would appear on the images we acquire, potentially masking something underneath. We can use ports if absolutely necessary, but we attempt to get alternative access whenever possible.

10. I'm very claustrophobic, is there anything we can do?

A. We cannot provide you with any medication, but if you feel you will have trouble tolerating the test we encourage you to obtain a prescription from your doctor for something to help you relax.

11. If I can’t make my appointment what should I do?

A. If you must cancel or reschedule, please notify us at least 24 hours in advance. The radioactive sugar water injection used for your scan is prepared specifically for you and will have to be discarded if you fail to keep your appointment.