PET/CT Instructions for Patients


Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography (CT) scans are both standard imaging tools that physicians use to pinpoint disease states in the body.

Patient Preparation for Best Results

Food, diet, clothing, medication, and lifestyle choices can affect the results of your PET/CT scan. These instructions will help you make necessary adjustments in order to receive the most accurate scan possible.

Please arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your appointment and check in at the Central Reception desk on the first floor. If you need to cancel your appointment, you must contact the PET/CT scan scheduling office at 806.212.0425 by 3 pm the day before your scheduled exam. If you fail to do so, you will be charged $400.

If you have any questions, call the PET/CT Department at 806.212.1979.

The day before your PET/CT scan:

Foods to Avoid: All dairy, sugar, honey, jams, jellies, all fruits, raisins, beets, carrots, corn, dry beans, peas, yams, cereal (hot or cold), rice cakes, all breads, muffins, tortillas, potatoes, gravy, pretzels, chips, rice, granola, oatmeal, pasta, alcohol, sodas, milk, coffee, tea, and fruit juices

Food suggestions: Follow a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet for 24 hours prior to your test to increase the quality of your PET/CT images. Meal suggestions include scrambled eggs with minced ham, meat omelets, with veggies, deviled eggs, egg, chicken, or tuna salad wrapped in lettuce leaves, hamburger patties with green salad, chicken with broccoli, steak with mushrooms, onions, cauliflower, green beans, nuts, pork rinds, chef salad, taco salad (no tortilla).

Exercise: No strenuous exercise 24 hours prior to your scan.

Water: Drink at least 64 ounces of water. Only if you are not restricted to low fluid intake.

The day of your scan:

DIABETIC PATIENTS-- do not take diabetic medications 6 hours prior to exam.

No food or drink (other than water) for 6 hours prior to your scan (including gum, breath mints, cough drops, hard candy, or anything that may contain sugar)

Drink two 8 oz. glasses of water the day of your scan prior to your arrival. It must be plain, unflavored water. No tea or coffee.

Take medications as scheduled prior to your scan as long as they are tolerated on an empty stomach.

Allow 2 hours for your appointment. For the scan, you will need to lay still and mostly flat for about 30 min.

Wear warm, loose-fitting clothing; the scanning room tends to be quite cool. You will NOT be required to remove your clothing prior to the scan unless it contains metal (including underwire bra, jewelry, and hair pins/clips).

If you need anxiety medication, please contact your ordering physician prior to the exam day so that they prescribe the medication. Bring the medication with you so you can take it at the time of your injection. You MUST have someone drive you home if you take any pills to relax you. We cannot release you if you don't have someone to drive you home.