At Imaging Associates our nuclear medicine department offers some of the most advanced imaging technology in the state. Our expertly-trained radiologists and technologists image and treat a wide range of conditions using PET/CT. At Imaging Associates our goal is to provide safe, effective, and compassionate care to all patients.
What you should know
What is a PET/CT?
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computerized Tomography (CT) is a state-of-the-art imaging technique that helps physicians in the diagnosis, localization, treatment and monitoring of cancers affecting the body. PET scan images provide information of the physiological processes happening in the body at the molecular level, while the CT scan provides a detailed picture of the body’s anatomy. PET/CT combines the strength of both imaging modalities into one scan to accurately image the cellular activity of organs and tissues in the body. This technique is painless and non-invasive.
PET/CT is also used in the diagnosis of heart disease and certain brain disorders, although the majority of PET/CT scans are performed for oncologic applications.
The most common agent used in PET/CT imaging is called F-18 FDG, a radioactive glucose molecule. A small amount of this glucose is injected into a small vein to help in the visualization of certain cells in the body. Because glucose is produced in the body every time we eat, there are no expected side effects from this injection.
How do I prepare for my PET/CT exam?
Preparation: In order to get precise images you will be provided with detailed information on how to prepare yourself for your PET/CT scan. You will receive the instructions when you or your referring physician schedule the appointment. Please follow them carefully.
The evening before your appointment, you will receive a call from our office staff that will remind you of your appointment time and answer any questions you may have.
Please note that the radiopharmaceutical that you will be given is going to be made especially for you and flown from Seattle to Anchorage in the morning of the day of your appointment therefore it is very important that you keep your appointment and follow patient prep instructions very closely.
If you need to cancel your appointment, please let us know at least 24 hours before your scheduled time.
24 hours prior to your exam (day before) :
- Do not engage in strenuous exercise including: running, weight lifting, housework, snow removal.
- Follow a high protein, low carbohydrate diet
- Drink plenty of water
- No chewing gum
- Please refrain from smoking & nicotine products. At least 6 hours prior to exam.
- All meats (un-breaded)
- Seafood (un-breaded)
- Eggs, tofu, unsweetened peanut butter
- Butter, Margarine, oil, mayonnaise, vinegar
- Vegetables: Non-starchy, green beans, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, lettuce, celery, mushrooms, bell peppers
Foods NOT ALLOWED:
- Breads, pastries, cereal, pasta, muffins, sugar, candy
- Potatoes, rice, pizza, pretzels, chips
- All Fruit: tomatoes, fruit juices, jams, jellies
- Honey, Syrup, dressings, gravies
- Soft drinks, milk, soy milk, tonic water, flavored water
- Alcohol, energy & sport drinks
- Starchy vegetables: corn, lima beans, soy beans, peas, yams, carrots
On the day of your exam:
- NO Food, WATER ONLY!
- Diabetic Patients: Please take any oral medications at least 4 hours prior to your exam. Subcutaneous insulin should be given no later than 2 hours before your exam.
What to Expect the Day of the Exam:
When you arrive you will check in at the front desk. A tech will then escort you to a quiet room to begin your study. At that time you will be injected with a radioisotope and will be asked to relax quietly for approximately 1 hour. After this period, you will be moved to the scan room to complete the study. The scan is completed in segments and will take approximately 2 ½ hours.
After your exam:
- You can eat, drink and resume your normal activities after your exam is completed.
- You will need to minimize contact with pregnant women and children for 6-8 hours after exam if finished.
Results will be read by our radiologist and a report will be faxed to your physician’s office within 24-48 hours.
Feel free to call us at 222-4624 (Anchorage) or 631-4624 (Wasilla) with any questions you may have.
What can I expect during my PET/CT scan?
You will be asked to come to Imaging Associates in Anchorage for your exam. Upon arrival to our office and after checking in, you will be taken into one of our “quiet rooms” where the technologist will check your glucose level and then administer the radioactive glucose via intravenous injection. If your glucose level is too high, you may need to reschedule your test.
After the injection we need to wait approximately 45-60 minutes for the glucose to circulate through your body and be absorbed by the cells. During this time, we will ask you to remain in the quiet room and relax. At the end of the resting time you will be taken into the PET scan room to begin the imaging sequences.
For the scan you will lie on a moveable table that slides you through a ring-like scanner to take the images. You will need to breathe normal but otherwise remain very still during the scan. We will make sure you are as comfortable as possible. On average the PET/CT scan takes about 30 minutes.
Once the test is complete, you may leave the center and resume your normal activities. The results will be interpreted by one of our board-certified Radiologists and the results sent to your physician within 24 hrs.
How do I get the results?
A final report, produced by one of Alaska Radiology Associate’s local specialized radiologists, will be available for most exams within two hours. Questions about your results should be directed to your referring health care provider. For any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us directly.
Who do I contact with questions?
Questions about the results of your exam should be directed to your primary health care provider. For any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us directly.