If you haven’t had a PET scan before, knowing what to do ahead of your appointment will make you feel relaxed and positive about the procedure.
What Can I Eat Before?
Diet is an important part of the preparation for a PET scan. Avoid eating four to six hours before the scan. Drinking water within this time span is fine. Follow a limited carbohydrate diet of proteins and non-starchy vegetables 24 hours before the scan. Carbohydrates turn into glucose, which affects your sugar metabolism and provides inaccurate results. Don’t drink any caffeine such as coffee or energy drinks, and avoid chewing gum and mints.
What Should I Wear?
Avoid anything with metal components, including zippers, buttons, jewelry, and underwire. You will be required to remove rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings before the scan, so consider leaving at home.
Metal interferes with the imaging and produces blurry scans. Your time is valuable, and you’ll want to avoid rescanning due to unclear images. Wear light cotton or linen clothing without metal parts.
Can I Take Medication Before?
Yes. Take your usual medications as prescribed unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Inform your doctor if you have diabetes and monitor your blood sugar for 48 hours before your appointment. Don’t take any injected or oral insulin four hours before the PET scan.
You can take painkillers for discomfort or anxiety medication for claustrophobia. Tell your doctor if you have claustrophobia to see if they can offer a light sedative.
Should I Bring Something to Do?
If you’re wondering what to bring to a PET scan, feel free to include a book to read or music to listen to while in the procedure room. Enjoying some entertainment while you wait for the tracer to absorb can calm anxieties.
How Active Can I Be Before My PET Scan?
Avoid exercise 24 hours before your exam, especially strenuous activities. This includes running, deep tissue massages and heavy lifting. Exercising can affect the radioactive tracer, producing inaccurate results.
Should I Get a PET Scan If I’m Pregnant?
Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or think you may be pregnant. PET scans aren’t usually done on pregnant women due to the risk of fetal radiation exposure. Your doctor will discuss alternative options.
Nursing mothers should avoid breastfeeding for 24 hours after a PET scan. Pump and store enough milk to last through this period.
Receive intimate and understanding care from Gettysburg’s top radiologists at Adams Diagnostic Imaging. Contact us to schedule a PET scan or to ask for more information about our services.