A PET scan is risk free and a painless procedure. The pedigree of radioactive substance used in the scan is limited and the machine does not throw out radiation. This is when you compare it with the standard radioactive procedures. Though the injection could cause localized pain with a degree of swelling, allergic reactions are on the limited side. Before you opt for a PET scan there are some protocols that you need to be aware.
It all depends upon the area of your body being scanned you could be asked to undress fully or partially. To store your belongings a safe locker would be provided, but a recommended practice would be to leave over your belongings at your home. In case if you are opting for PET CT scan in Mumbai leave metal objects at home because they could have an impact with imaging results. Artificial implants or pacemaker would not have any influence on results.
A PET scan ceases to be impossible if you are obese. You might not fit into the scanning chamber as the machine has a capacity of 450 pounds. Quality of image is degraded if weight and size is not within prescribed limits. The dose of radioactive tracer would not be adequate for a quality body image where body mass increases. You could up in the dose but beyond a prescribed level it could cause considerable amount of harm. Increase in body mass could pave way for scattering of radiation diminishing image quality. With multi detector scanners these issues could be put to rest though efforts are on in full length to increase diameter of a PET scan machine.
If you are a diabetic patient you need to ensure that your blood sugar levels are within 4 to 10 mnol before a test. If blood sugar levels are high, radioactive tracer would not work on the cells. If insulin levels are high, it would pep up the radiotracer and results would be off track. If blood sugar levels are not in control, you might have to discuss with your doctor about any medicines that you need to consume.
The test phase
The preparation of a PET test depends upon objectives of a procedure. The main activity would be to cut down on the levels of sugar or carbohydrate so that blood sugar levels are normal. This means that the radiotracer works evenly in your body.
For the procedure to be over it may take around 30 to 45 minutes at the most. Variations are there which could extend to several hours.
In an ideal scenario you would want to arrive at the test before 30 minutes so that you settle comfortably. Be on time so that you can receive a radiotracer an hour before the scan. Later arrivals could complicate schedule as the staff would be left with no other option rather than schedule for a later date.
Since you are asked not to eat anything before a procedure, the test is recommended in the morning hours.
PET scans are undertaken on an outpatient basis, this means you can head home the same date after your surgery. In most of the hospitals there is a dedicated centre for such facilities. The room itself goes by the name of procedure room.
A patient needs to make their way on to a large machine where in the centre there is a doughnut shape hole. This is on similar lines as a CT or MRI scan. Into digital images you transfer signals. A skilled technologist is going to monitor the entire procedure via a two way speaker they are going to communicate with you.
Food along with drink
There are bound to be restrictions on your diet so that blood sugar levels are normal before a scan. Though specific restrictions in diet might not be suggested but you might be asked to keep away from high GI foods that pep up your blood sugar levels. Vegetables devoid of starch along with nuts a rich source of proteins is recommended.
Before 6 hours when the scan is about to take place you might be asked to stop eating in total. Though you can drink water and consume most medications which are suggested. If any medication needs food, discuss with your doctor. Till the test is complete you might have to delay the dose. On the basis of your glucose control the doctor may prescribe additional medicines.
Apart from food you need to stay away from intensive physical activity 24 hours before the surgery. This would mean any activity that increases your heart rate. In achieving this can have an impact on your insulin levels and reduce blood sugar levels.
Things to carry along
Apart from your identification proof along with health insurance cards, carry along a magazine which you can read while resting after a radio tracer shot. If your child is part of a PET CT brain scan in Mumbai carry along with some toys for their entertainment. Keep away from action video games as they could become overexcited and blood sugar levels may rise.
Glucose monitor would be handy if you are suffering from diabetes. Before a scan begins a lab would conduct a test, if you have not had food for some time you would want to check it out yourself.
If you feel that the procedure makes you nervous listen to some music via headphones. Just check out whether the scanning room is equipped with music or audio play stations. If you are expecting a sedative for your procedure just ask someone to accompany you.
If you are breastfeeding you might like to pump in some milk and keep till the point radio tracer completely clears from your body. Discuss with your doctor when you can start the process again. In your breast milk radio tracer could not cause any harm, no long term research indicate it is not safe.