If your doctor has ordered a PET scan and you’ve never had one before, chances are you have a lot of questions about what to expect. This diagnostic procedure with a funny name is no real cause for alarm, but there are a few things you might need to do to get ready.
While a PET scan isn’t a whole lot different than undergoing an X-ray or a CT scan, there is some prep work that goes along with the prospect. PET stands for positron emission tomography. The test relies on a tracer dye that’s put into the body that enables imaging technology to see inside to show how the body is working.
All in all, PET scans are pretty cool procedures that can show how the body is functioning while making it easier to spot areas for concern. This type of test can help diagnose heart disease, some forms of cancer, circulation issues, tissue damage, and a whole lot more.
So, what do you need to do to get ready? The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you have pre-test instructions from your doctor or the testing facility you plan on using. Chances are those instructions will include a request for you to stop exercising and eating before the test. You may also be asked to limit fluid intake.
Once you arrive at the facility for testing, the tracer will either be injected, inhaled, or swallowed. The method will depend on the test in question and the facility. After that, you’ll probably be asked to change into a hospital gown and then the test will begin. This involves lying down on a table as that table is moved through the scanning machine. All told, the scanning generally takes about 30 minutes. If you have claustrophobia, you might want to make the testing facility aware. The test, by the way, is painless and really doesn’t take very long in the grand scheme of things.
If your doctor has ordered a PET scan to help diagnose a condition, there’s no need for alarm. This relatively fast procedure is painless and delivers a much clearer picture of what’s going on inside your body so your doctor can make a more accurate diagnosis to help you out.