FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that many of your questions involve how to prepare for a PET scan.  Please take a moment to view our helpful Preparation Video as this may answer many of your questions.  To view the video, please click here:  https://youtu.be/54x9ZqcGZiA

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.

Should I Bring My Most Recent CT Scan With Me To My Appointment?

Yes, you must bring a copy of the CT report and the CD itself.

Can I Bring My Children To My PET/CT Procedure?

For safety purposes, children must be accompanied by an adult at all times while at our facilities. If you must bring your child to your appointment, please arrange to bring an adult along to supervise your child during your exam.  If you are unable to bring someone along, kindly advise a member of our staff and we will work with you to reschedule your appointment.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM DIABETIC

Since diabetics manage sugar differently in their body, we tailor our preparation to your unique needs.  Please contact our office at (954) 981-6668 to receive preparation instructions specific to your needs.

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

Except for plain water, you should not chew or consume anything else during your Preparation phase.  Candy, cough drops and gum have sugar and other ingredients (even if labeled sugar free) that could affect the quality of your scan.

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 reduces image quality, which could ultimately 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?

Almost all tea contains caffeine, as even those labeled decaffeinated may contain small amounts of caffeine, sugar or calories.  Therefore, it is best to avoid tea during the preparation phase of you scan.  Your best PET scan will come from drinking plain water only during your scan preparation.

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?

Generally speaking, smoking does not directly affect the quality of a PET scan.  If you need asssistance with quitting smoking, please follow this link:  https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/cessation/quitting/index.htm.

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?

Deodorant will not affect the quality of your PET scan.

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?

It is important that you follow the Preparation Instructions as closely as possible to maximize the quality and benefits of your scan.  One of the most important aspects is limiting sugar intake for four hours prior to your appointment.  We offer early morning appointments to make this as easy as possible for you, and have a nice snack pack waiting for you upon completion of your scan for your enjoyment.

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)?

A PET/CT scan only requires a small and nearly painless injection into a vein.  It is not necessary to drink any contrast, and you are not injected with any ‘contrast’ such as with MRI or diagnostic CT scans.

Can I have sex before a PET/CT scan?

Sexual intercourse does not affect the image quality of a PET/CT scan.

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?

The technologist is responsible for greeting you, performing the PET scan itself, obtaining the highest quality PET images possible, and of course, making sure you are comfortable throughout the entire process.  Once complete, a Board certified and specialty-trained PET radiologist will view your images on a dedicated workstation, compare your images to any prior studies, generate a written report using voice transcription, and electronically transmit this report to your ordering provider.

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?

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy do not ‘interfere’ with the performance of a PET/CT scan.  However, these therapies can certainly have an effect on the underlying disease that a PET scan is evaluating.  For example, if a patient has an initial PET scan which shows the extent of disease, they may undergo chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy and then return some time later for a repeat PET scan.  If all goes well, that follow-up PET scan will no longer show the disease, indicating that the treatment was a success.  Therefore, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can change the results of a PET scan, but not by interfering with the process of the PET scan itself.

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.

SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT RADIATION DURING A PET/CT SCAN?

As with most other medical imaging tests, PET scans involve a small amount of what we call “diagnostic levels” of radiation.  Your doctor has ordered a PET scan because he or she feels the benefits of the scan far outweigh any small risks associated with low levels of diagnostic “x-rays”.  Also, our PET scanners are capable of obtaining very high quality scans with about 70% less radiation than any other scanner in the region, far below the national average.

After the PET/CT Scan Questions

Can I obtain a copy of the results?

Yes.  As the patient, you have a right to have a copy of your images and written report.  At the time you complete your PET scan, you will be given a CD containing all the original data from your PET scan.  A short time thereafter, your written report will be generated and electronically transmitted to your doctor.  If you would like a copy of your report, please call (954) 981-6668 to quickly receive your free copy of the report.

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?

The technologist is responsible for greeting you, performing the PET scan itself, obtaining the highest quality PET images possible, and of course, making sure you are comfortable throughout the entire process.  Once complete, a Board certified and specialty-trained PET radiologist will view your images on a dedicated workstation, compare your images to any prior studies, generate a written report using voice transcription, and electronically transmit this report to your ordering provider.

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.

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

After your PET/CT scan, you may resume your normal daily activities, which includes taking your medications as prescribed and 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 after a PET scan?

Your urine color will not change as a result of anything related to a PET scan.  For more information on urine color, please follow this link:  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urine-color/symptoms-causes/syc-20367333

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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