How Do You Prepare for a PET Scan?


Quick Answer

Preparing for a PET (positron emission tomography) scan generally involves fasting for several hours before the test, as well as avoiding intense levels of exercise for a couple of days beforehand. The doctor may also provide specific instructions based on one's own medical history, according to Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

The purpose of a PET scan is to check throughout the body for disease. The scan utilizes radioactive tracers that contain a specific dye. The medical staff injects the tracers into the patient's body through a vein in the arm, and the tracers then move to the tissues and organs. The PET scanner then looks into the body to see how well tissues and organs are functioning by measuring such processes as glucose metabolism, oxygen usage and blood flow, notes Healthline.

In most cases, the patient can go home the same day as the PET scan, as this is a non-invasive outpatient procedure. People who are claustrophobic, or afraid of being enclosed in small spaces, pregnant, breastfeeding, on a regular regimen of medicines, vitamins or supplements, or who have had a recent illness, a chronic medical condition or a history of severe allergic reaction should notify their physicians, as stated by Mayo Clinic.

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