What a Patient Should Expect When Getting a PET Scan

What a Patient Should Expect When Getting a PET Scan

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Advancement in medicine has greatly improved the quality of life. With the help of technological innovation, medical practitioners are able to accurately diagnose diseases and recommend the best treatment. In the past, it was almost imperceptible to get clear images of the inside of the body without surgery. These days, non-invasive imaging procedures produce high-resolution visuals of different body parts. These, in turn, give insight into abnormalities and disorders that need to be treated.

PET scans, in general, are safe and painless and may be recommended by a doctor to diagnose several conditions. For example, it can be used to detect Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. It can also be used to detect small cellular abnormalities such as the recurrence of cancer. Along with other imaging techniques such as MRI and CT scans, PET scans are especially helpful in today’s medicine.

Patients who need to undergo a PET scan may have some questions about the process. In this article, everything you can expect from a PET scan will be explained.

How does a patient prepare for a PET scan?

Preparation for a PET scan is not as complicated as you might think. Generally, patients will be briefed by the doctor on why the procedure is needed. Patients need to be aware of the potential risks such as exposure to radiation. Then again, this is very minimal but protocol requires that patients should be informed nonetheless. It is the patient’s responsibility to tell the doctor of any ongoing medication, past medical conditions, as well as any history of allergies. PET scans can be an outpatient procedure and patients often choose private PET scans in London clinics for better service.

Patients will be asked to stick to a low carbohydrate and low sugar diet 24 hours before the procedure. Foods and beverages such as cereals, bread, fruit juices, and rice are not allowed during this period. A few hours before the procedure, the patient will still be asked to refrain from food and beverages especially if anaesthesia is to be administered.

Before the actual scan is performed, tracers will be administered either by swallowing or intravenous application. After about an hour, the tracer should have already been absorbed by the body. During the scan, a patient is asked to lie very still and allow the procedure to be completed within 30 to 45 minutes.

What Happens After?

You will not be required to do anything further after the procedure is concluded. You won’t feel any pain or other side effects such as dizziness. The doctor will advise you when to expect the results and you’ll need to drink lots of fluids to help flush out the tracer from your body. Normally, a trained technician will interpret the results which will be relayed to your doctor.

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