The PET/CT procedure typically lasts 2-3 hours. The amount of time involved to complete your scan will depend on the type of procedure your physician has requested. It begins with an injection of a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) “tracer” solution that enables evaluation of glucose metabolism (function) in the body. There are no known side effects to this injection. The procedure may begin immediately upon injection, or may begin after an “uptake period,” depending on the type of examination being requested. You may be asked to rest in a quiet room and avoid significant movement or talking, which may alter the localization of the tracer.
The PET/CT scanner is very similar in size to a CT scanner and looks like a large doughnut. The patient is asked to lie comfortably on the imaging table while the scanner detects the concentration of the tracer within the body, and generates CT, PET, and fusion images by use of computer software.