Will the injection make me feel bad? Are there any side-effects from the injection?

No. The injection we give is essentially a radioactive sugar. It does not have any side-effects and will not cause you to feel bad (eg sleepy, itchy etc.). You will be able to continue with your normal daily activities after the investigation (eg driving).

The only thing you will feel is the small prick when we place the IV-line through which we will inject the radioactive sugar.

Why am I not allowed to eat before the examination?

It is VERY important that you DO NOT eat or consume any calories for at least 6 hours before the examination. This is because we use a glucose (sugar)  to do the investigation. If you eat before the investigation the glucose will be taken up by all your muscles and we will not be able to interpret the study.

This is why it is of utmost importance to follow these instructions. PLEASE inform us BEFORE we give you the injection if you ate or drank something accidentally less than 4 hours before your investigation. We will then have to rebook the study. If you do not tell us, we will be able to see that you ate before the study when we look at the scan and we will have to still rebook the study as the study will not be interpretable.

I have Diabetes Mellitus (high blood sugar) and hear you inject a sugar – will this influence my blood sugar level?

No. This injection is completely safe, even if you are a diabetic. It will NOT influence/change your blood sugar level. Please contact the PET/CT centre BEFORE coming for the investigation for specific  preparation for diabetic patients.


Can I have this investigation if I am allergic to Iodine (CT contrast material)

Yes. We do not use Iodinated contrast agents. The injection we give is completely safe in patients with an allergy to iodine.

Can I have this investigation if I am allergic to Iodine (CT contrast material)

Yes. We do not use Iodinated contrast agents. The injection we give is completely safe in patients with an allergy to iodine.

Can I have this study if I am pregnant?

We will NOT continue with the study if you are pregnant. Although the radiation dose used is relatively low, unnecessary radiation exposure to the fetus is not advisable. We therefore would defer the study until after you have given birth.

PLEASE inform the staff if you are, or think you may be pregnant.

Can I have the study if I am breastfeeding?

Yes, you can. The radioactivity is not excreted in the breastmilk. Radiation exposure to your baby is however from the close contact with your baby when you are breastfeeding. We therefore advise you to express you breastmilk and have someone else give the milk to the baby for at least 8 hours after the examination. For this reason it is also advisable to restrict any close contact with your baby (or small children) for this time period after the examination.

Please contact the PET/CT BEFORE your examination for instructions on breastfeeding before and after the investigation.

How soon after the PET scan can I come in contact with my family?

Tests have shown that after 2 hours the radioactive tracer have worn off to such an extent that good quality imaging is almost not possible. The safe time span is 4 hours post injection. After 4 hours you can be around kids and family without any concern. We do however advise to restrict close contact for prolonged periods with small children/babies (eg carrying around a small baby/breastfeeding) until about 8 hours after the investigation.

The more fluids you drink the faster the excess radio activity will be flushed from your system.

I thought radiation is dangerous?

The radiation doses that we use is very small. We also strictly adhere to the ALARA principal – which means “As low as reasonably achievable.”

All doses have been carefully calculated for each patient according to their weight. In addition, newer technology has allowed us to reduce the injected dose thereby also reducing the radiation exposure to you.

The doses that we use in our examination is very low and will not cause cancer later in your life. This has been extensively studied.

When will I get my results? Can I see the doctor after the scan to request any preliminary scan results?

The scan comprises of two parts – a PET scan and a CT scan, which is fused together to make a 3D image, therefore two specialists – a Nuclear Medicine Physician and a Radiologist sit together as a panel to view and discuss the images after it has been processed by the radiographer. It is not possible to do a quick analysis of the image. It is a time consuming process done with the greatest care and in detail by experienced and highly qualified specialists. The doctor at the PET centre will  therefore NOT give you your results immediately after the scan has been completed.

The radiographer can only check the image quality to see whether any movement by the patient caused disturbance of the image. Radiographers cannot give you any indication what the scan results will be.

The results of the scan will be available by the next work day at 12.

Watch the PET/CT scan in action