Cancer cells grow at a very fast rate and growing cells use glucose (sugar) as a primary source of energy. The faster cells grow, the more glucose is consumed. Before a PET-CT study is done, a form of glucose called FDG is injected into the patient's body via an IV. This FDG emits particles, called positrons. These positrons are consumed more in fast-growing cancer cells than in normal cells. A PET-CT scan detects where positrons are emitted from within a patient's body, providing images that map these locations. A PET-CT scan will identify both the presence of disease and its precise location in the body.

The Day before Your Pet-CT Scan:

  • Eat a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet.
  • Take prescribed medications, unless advised otherwise.
  • Avoid caffeine, sugar, tobacco and exercise 24-hours prior to your diagnostic scan.

NOTE: If you are pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or have diabetes, tell your physician. Generally, a PET-CT is not performed on women who are pregnant. Those who are diabetic will be given special instructions at the time their scan is scheduled.

The Day of Your Pet-CT Scan:

  • Do not eat or drink anything except water for six hours before your test.
  • Take any prescribed medication, unless instructed otherwise.
  • Wear warm, comfortable clothes (the scanner room is kept cool). 
  • Avoid clothes with heavy buckles or metal components.
  • Please arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
  • If you must cancel or reschedule, please do so at least 24 hours before your appointment.
  • Expect to be at our PET-CT scan center for two to three hours.

What to Bring to Your Pet-CT Scan:

  • Your insurance card and prescription
  • Films or digital images of previous CT scans, X-rays, and prior PET exams
  • Any pathology reports

Upon Arrival For Your Pet-CT Scan:

  • After registering, you will be taken to a preparation area, where a small amount of FDG will be injected through an IV.
  • You will rest quietly for one hour while the FDG circulates throughout your body. During this time, you must avoid significant movement or talking. The waiting area will have a television set so you can relax.
  • Your scan will take between 30 to 60 minutes.

After Your Pet-CT Scan:

  • You will be offered a snack and beverage.
  • You can leave immediately.
  • Your activity will not be restricted.
  • You can drive and resume your normal diet, exercise and medication routine.
  • You should drink plenty of fluids to flush the FDG from your body and avoid being around infants or anyone who is pregnant for the first eight hours immediately following your scan.
  • Your physician will contact you with your PET-CT results.

For more information on PET-CT Scan at Jefferson or other medical imaging services available, please call 856-406-4100.

CT Scan

A CT scan or CAT scan uses a series of X-rays along with computer processing to create 2D and 3D images of the body. By looking at several three-dimensional "slices" of a body (like slices of bread), a doctor can tell not only if a tumor is present, but about how deep it is in the body. The newer spiral (also called helical) CT scan takes continuous pictures of the body in a spiral motion, so there are no gaps in images collected.

CT imaging is particularly useful because it can show several types of tissues—lung, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels—with great clarity. Using specialized equipment and expertise to create and interpret CT scans of the body, radiologists can easily diagnose problems such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, trauma, and musculoskeletal disorders.

Preparing for a CT Scan

No two CT scans are alike. For some, you may not eat solid food for four hours prior to your CT appointment. You may, however, have clear liquids (black coffee/tea, broth, clear soups or juice) during this time in moderate amounts. Some patients will be asked to arrive one hour ahead of time to drink a barium mixture that will outline the gastrointestinal tract. Some CT scans do not require special preparation. Be sure to check with your doctor or the medical imaging staff about your test. From start to finish, the imaging test usually lasts only 10 to 15 minutes.

For more information on CT Scan at Jefferson or other medical imaging services available, please call 856-406-4100.