PET Scan Information
Positron Emission Tomography
Tennessee Oncology is pleased to offer the most advanced imaging technology with the GE Discovery ST PET/CT at each of our three convenient locations.
PET is an acronym for Positron Emission Tomography. PET uses radiation or nuclear medicine imaging to produce 3-dimensional color images of the functional processes within the human body. A Computed Tomography (CT) scan shows the structure. Merging these two scans into one highly sophisticated PET/CT imaging technique provides detailed information about presence or spread of disease and accurately identifies its precise location.
Radioactive glucose (sugar) called a radiotracer is injected into the vein of your arm. The tracer travels through the body and is absorbed by the organs and tissues being studied. The energy given off by the tracer substance is converted into 3-dimensional pictures.
A PET scan reveals energy changes at a cellular level. This allows detection of small cancers, differentiates between benign and malignant tumors, and allows accurate staging. CT or MRI detects structural organ or tissue changes that occur later with more progressed disease.
Although a radiotracer chemical is used, the radiation exposure is low. Pregnant and lactating women should discuss the risk compared with the need for and potential information to be gained with their physician.
1. To provide complete medical history and list of current medications.
2. To have a blood glucose (sugar) level drawn and receive an injection of radioactive glucose (tracer) into your arm.
3. To rest quietly for 45 - 60 minutes to allow the tracer to circulate through your body.
4. To be positioned onto the scanning bed. After which, the bed will slowly move into the scanner.
5. To breathe normally and remain very still throughout the 20 minute procedure so that the best possible images are obtained.
• Do not eat or drink 6 hours prior to your exam.
• Take regular medications with water, except diabetic medications.
• Oral diabetic medications cannot be taken within six hours of your scan. Insulin
should NOT be injected within 4 hours of the scan. Blood glucose should be less than
200 before the injection of radioactive glucose. For glucose levels above 200,
please contact our PET facility prior to your appointment time.
• Discuss with your physician if you anticipate experiencing anxiety or claustrophobia.
A mild sedative may be prescribed for you to bring with you to your appointment.
If so, plan to have someone drive you home.
• Wear comfortable clothes.
• Expect the procedure to last a total of two hours.
• Provide 24 hour advance notice to reschedule.
Eat as normal and drink plenty of fluids after your study is completed. You should not experience any side effects from the study.
Scan results will be sent to your referring physician. Your physician will follow up to discuss your results.