Positron Emission Tomography (PET)


What is a PET Scan?

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a non-invasive nuclear medicine procedure that is able to detect certain diseases (such as cancer) before other imaging procedures such as CT scan and MRI scan. PET is able to detect the chemical and physiological changes related to metabolism. It allows detection much earlier since metabolic changes occur before changes in organs and tissues. PET can improve the decision-making process before surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.

PET is mainly used to:

•  Evaluate lung tumors

•  Stage and restage various tumors

•  Determine tumor response to radiation and/or chemotherapy

•  Diagnose recurrence of the tumor growth after surgical removal

•  Decide the best location for biopsying a suspected tumor

•  Differentiate radiation necrosis from new tumor growth





•  High Protein/No Carbohydrate Diet

•  Drink 80 oz. of water (just through the day)

•  No strenuous activity



•  Drink 20 oz. of water

•  Nothing to eat or drink 4 hours before your test (except water)


What to Expect

You should expect to spend at least 2 hours at the clinic the day of the exam. You will receive an injection of a small amount of a radioactive glucose solution (FDG). Glucose (also known as sugar) is a common substance every cell in our body needs in order to function. Cancer cells most often use glucose more rapidly than normal cells and can be highlighted as brighter areas on the images. After the injection, you will wait in a quiet dimly lit room for approximately 40 minutes while the FDG is permitted to distribute itself throughout the body. There is no sensation associated with the FDG injection. After the waiting period, you will lie quietly on a table that moves through a doughnut-shaped opening while the images are acquired. 

Follow Up

After the scan you may resume your normal activities.

Your referring physician will be provided results within 2 - 3 working days. 


If you are diabetic and taking insulin, please contact The Radiology clinic the day before your exam and speak with someone in the Nuclear Medicine Department.

If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, or if you are a nursing mother, be sure to inform us.

Please notify us within 24 hours of your scheduled time if you will be unable to keep your appointment.

The PET department at The Radiology Clinic is accredited by the American College of Radiology.