FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Administration Questions?

How do I make an appointment?

We would be happy to help you with that over the phone during our office hours, Monday through Friday between 8:00am and 5:00pm.

In addition to regular daytime hours, we offer early morning, late evening, and weekend appointments for your convenience. Call us at (954) 981-6668 to schedule your appointment for a time and day that fits your schedule.

What if I have an emergency or question after-hours?

If you are experiencing an emergency, please dial 911 immediately or head to the nearest emergency room. Otherwise, please call our main number at (954) 981-6668 to receive information on after-hours assistance.

What if I have questions about paying for my scan?

All office visits are payable at the time of service. We accept cash, checks, and most major credit cards. We also accept Care Credit. If you have any further financial questions or concerns, please contact our billing team at (954) 981-6668 and they’ll be happy to help you.

Why is my insurance and ID required every time I come in?

Since we handle sensitive materials, as well as to ensure maximum patient safety, we are required by law to verify your identity prior to injecting you with the radiopharmaceutical. Without proper identification presented at the time of the examination, you will not be permitted to undergo your PET/CT scan.

Your insurance card is necessary for similar reasons, as well as for your protection against insurance fraud.

PET/CT Scan Preparation Questions?

Why must I fast for 4 hours prior to my PET/CT Scan? Is it important to tell the technologist if I ate within the 4 hours?

The reason we ask that you fast for a PET/CT scan is because the injection given for this procedure (called “FDG”) is based on glucose (sugar). If a patient eats before the procedure, the glucose (sugar) level in the blood may be elevated and will interfere with the uptake of the radiotracer. To make sure that the cells of the body receives the correct amount of FDG, and to improve image quality, we ask you to fast so that there is no competition with glucose (sugar) in the blood. Yes, please inform the technologist if you ate within the last 4 hours so it can be noted on the chart. ** If you are having a PET/CT Bone scan or Cardiac PET/CT scan, you do not have to be fasting. **

PET/CT scans use a sugar-based agent to provide very high quality and detailed images. In order to work correctly, our agent must distribute on its own. If you have any calories, such as sugar, within that four hour timeframe, that will compete with our agent and significantly change the results of your test. Ultimately, this could affect your diagnosis and treatment.

However, we understand that accidents happen! If for any reason you do eat or drink anything other than water within this timeframe, please let us know. We would be happy to reschedule you in order to obtain the best possible images, which will lead to better care. Call us if you have any more questions.

My blood glucose level is over 200 mg/dl. Can I inject insulin to bring it down prior to my appointment?

The management of insulin diabetic patients is complicated and should only be undertaken by your physician. Generally, PET/CT scan quality can begin to degrade when blood glucose levels exceed 200 mg/dl, although this too is difficult to predict. If your glucose level is above this level, please call our office for instructions.

Can I have candy, cough drops or chew gum while I am fasting?

No. You are to have nothing in your mouth, with the exception of plain water, during the fasting phase – not even flavored water. Candy, cough drops and gum have sugar in them (even if they are labeled sugar free) which could alter the normal glucose distribution in your body.

Why is caffeine restricted for 24 hours prior to my appointment?

Along with other factors, caffeine can alter the distribution of sugar in your body. Anything that has this effect ultimately reduces the quality of the images and could significantly change the results of your test. Ultimately, this could affect your diagnosis and treatment.

Can I drink decaffeinated coffee or soda?

Other than non-flavored water, any other drinks should not be consumed within the four hour preparation timeframe. Therefore, no coffee, even decaffeinated coffee or soda should be consumed.

Does green tea or herbal tea contain caffeine?

Even products labeled decaffeinated may contain small amounts of sugar, caffeine or calories. Your best test results will come by drinking plain water only.

Can I have alcoholic beverages the day before?

There are no restrictions regarding alcoholic beverages the day before your PET/CT scan. However, you must strictly follow our guidelines during the four hour preparation timeframe, and no alcohol or flavored beverages should be consumed during that time.

Can I smoke before a PET/CT scan?

You should never smoke. Smoking is severely hazardous to your health, and in many cases, is the reason patients require PET/CT scans in the first place.

Can I have sex before a PET/CT scan?

Congratulations! Sexual intercourse has no effect on image results or the outcome of your PET/CT scan.

Can I use my inhaler before a PET/CT scan?

Yes, you can use your inhaler. This will have no effect on the results of your study. If you have any other questions or concerns about any other product, please give our center a call.

Can I brush my teeth before a PET/CT scan?

Normal brushing without swallowing mouthwash or toothpaste within the four hour preparation timeframe will have no effect on the outcome of your PET/CT scan.

Can I wear deodorant before a PET/CT scan?

Yes, this will not affect the quality of your study.

Can I take my medications (including pain medication) before the PET/CT scan?

You may take your normal medications, including pain medication, provided you are able to take them with plain water on an empty stomach (without food). Please consult your physician regarding any questions related to your medications.

Do I have to limit my intake of sugar prior to the PET/CT scan?

Yes. In fact, you should have nothing by mouth except plain water and medications for the four hour preparation timeframe before your PET/CT scan.

Why am I asked to use the restroom prior to the scan?

FDG is excreted through in your urine, which collects in the urinary bladder during the waiting time after your injection. You must attempt to empty your bladder prior to the scan in order to remove the excess activity in the bladder, which improves the quality of your test.

Do I have to drink anything (dye/contrast)?

No, the PET/CT Scan does not require you to drink any oral contrast.

PET/CT Scan Questions

How long does a PET/CT scan take?

You should expect to spend about two hours with us from the time you enter our facility until you leave. If you are having a PET/CT Bone Scan, this may be slightly longer.

Is a PET/CT Technologist the same as a Nurse or Doctor?

No, a PET/CT technologist is not a nurse or a doctor. Nuclear Medicine is a specialized field within the health care industry, requiring specialized training and certification. Our technologists have undergone extensive technical and medical training that specifically qualifies and licenses them to perform your exam.

How does a PET/CT scan differ from a CAT Scan? Do you use contrast with the CAT Scan portion of the exam?

In general terms, a CT scan only evaluates the anatomical structures of your body. PET adds vital functional information that, when combined with CT, markedly improves diagnostic capabilities. This leads to far more accurate diagnosis and staging, which ultimately results in better care.

Does Chemotherapy or Radiation Therapy interfere with a PET/CT Scan?

No, chemotherapy and radiation therapy will not interfere with your PET/CT scan. For obvious reasons, these treatment modalities may change the results of your test. In fact, PET/CT is ideal for assessing your body’s response to these therapies, and is superior to other conventional imaging modalities as well. Let us know if you have recently undergone chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Is a PET/CT scan considered therapy?

No, a PET/CT scan is a test used to diagnose disease, not provide treatment. The results of a PET/CT scan help your physician determine their treatment decisions.

Why does the scanning room feel cooler than the rest of the office?

In order for the PET/CT scanner to operate properly, it must be kept in a cool and dry environment. Because the humidity level is lower in the scan room than most people are accustomed to, it feels much cooler than the rest of the office.

What is the injection used for a PET/CT Scan?

The technical name of the injected material is F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). This is very similar to glucose (normal sugar), but is special because we can image it with our PET/CT scanner.

Will I have any reaction to the injection? Does the injection hurt?

There are no known side effects or adverse reactions to FDG. Only a single, small intravenous injection is required. While everyone has a different tolerance to small injections, most people find the process virtually pain free.

Will I be injected with iodine?

No iodine or iodine-containing substances are used.

Will the injection from a PET/CT scan affect my blood glucose level?

Although FDG is very similar to glucose, the amount injected is so small it will not affect your blood glucose level.

Can you give me a sedative prior to the scan?

If you feel you require medication to relax you during your scan, you should consult your physician. We cannot provide medications to patients.

Can you provide me with oxygen while I am at your facility?

No. Oxygen must be prescribed by your physician. If you are in need of oxygen during your visit with us, please bring your prescribed oxygen with you.

Can I read, use my cell phone or watch TV while I am waiting?

Believe it or not, PET/CT is so sensitive that it can even be affected by eye motion, head motion, or stimulation during the “uptake phase”, which is the time period immediately following your injection. Although this may lead to some boredom, we believe this results in the best possible image quality.

Are family members allowed to come back with me during the procedure?

No. The PET/CT scan requires the administration of a radioactive isotope. For this reason, portions of the office are restricted and can only be occupied by the patient and the authorized medical personnel.

How long will I be on the scanner?

A standard PET/CT scan usually requires about 20 minutes of “table time”. Occasionally, your doctor may request additional images depending on the reason for your scan, which may add a few minutes to your overall time. You will be informed in advance of your appointment what to expect.

What does the PET/CT scan see that other scans don’t?

The PET portion of the exam assesses the metabolic function of tissues in your body, whereas most other imaging modalities assess only anatomy. By combining this functional information with CT images, the end result is an exam that is far more accurate, sensitive, and specific than virtually any other diagnostic test of its type.

What’s the difference between a PET/CT bone scan and a regular bone scan?

There are many advantages of PET/CT bone scans over conventional bone scans. To summarize, PET/CT bone scans take a far shorter amount of time to perform and obtain much higher quality images. These images use a different injection and different imaging equipment to provide a more accurate, sensitive, and specific means of determining if bone metastatic disease may be present.

I’m afraid of the amount of radiation I will be given. Should I be?

In many cases, small doses of radiation are a necessary requirement to obtain high-quality medical images. The radiation dose associated with PET/CT is slightly higher than some other imaging modalities but remains at a diagnostic level. As with any other diagnostic test that involves the use of radiation, your physician has determined that the benefits of performing the test far outweigh the risk of radiation doses at these low diagnostic levels. Rest assured that we make every effort to use the minimum doses required to obtain diagnostic quality images.

After the PET/CT Scan Questions

Can I drink alcohol after a PET/CT scan?

There is no restriction on drinking alcohol shortly after the scan.

Will the technologist provide me with the results of my scan?

No. The images must be processed and presented to our Radiologist for review and interpretation. A written report will be generated and sent immediately to the ordering physician.

How long does it take for my doctor to get a copy of the results? Who interprets the results of the PET/CT Scan?

Results will be submitted in writing to your ordering physician within 24 hours. Our Board Certified Radiologists are all specially trained in PET/CT and are responsible for the interpretation of your scan.

Can I obtain a copy of the results?

Yes. Contact us at (954) 981-6668 for details.

Will my medications be restricted following a PET/CT Scan?

No. Continue to take your medications as directed by your physician.

Is it okay to drive after my PET/CT scan? Can I return to work?

You may resume normal activity following the scan. If your physician provided you with a sedative, follow the direction of your physician.

Will my urine change color?

No, the color of your urine will not change.

After my PET/CT Scan, do I still need to follow up with the other scans that were ordered by my doctor (Mammograms, Ultrasound, CTs, etc.)?

Yes. You should follow the direction of your physician regarding any other diagnostic testing that needs to be performed.

After a PET/CT scan, why is it suggested to limit contact with pregnant women and young children? How long should I avoid contact?

There is no standard rule for interacting with others following a PET/CT scan. A common principle used is “ALARA”, or “as low as reasonably achievable”. Therefore, if close contact can be avoided with those that may be more susceptible to radiation effects, such as pregnant women and infants under one year of age, this should be done for several hours after the examination.

Why do I have to sit for 45 minutes after I’m injected?

Once you are injected, the material must be given ample time to distribute in the same manner sugar distributes in your body following a meal. If we were to begin your scan too soon or too late, the effectiveness of the test could be significantly diminished.

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