A PET-CT scan is a test that combines a PET scan (positron emission tomography) with a CT scan (computed tomography) to produce an accurate picture of a specific area of the body. A PET scan uses a radiotracer that gives off radiation to show the biochemical activity in the body such as cells breaking down glucose. A CT scan gives a detailed picture of the organs, bones, and tissues.

When these two scans are combined, doctors can identify abnormal cell activity in parts of the body and help find cancer within the body. A PET-CT scan is also a very valuable tool for evaluating if a cancer treatment is working.

Preparing For Your Exam

In addition to our general preparation instructions, please do not to eat or drink anything other than water for 6 hours before your test.

PET-CT scans are not normally performed on women who are expecting, so please be sure to discuss your pregnancy with your doctor.

During Your Exam

You will be given the radiotracer for the PET portion of the scan. The radiology technologist will help to position you on the movable table. The table will move through the center of the PET-CT scan machine which resembles a donut.

After Your Exam

Once the procedure is complete, a radiologist will review the images to confirm that they are usable before you leave. You will normally receive your results within a few days. You will not receive the results at the time of the test.