PET Scanning

What is a PET scan?

PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography. PET is used to help the diagnosis and management of many diseases. These include cancer, epilepsy and heart disease.

Using a form of radioactive glucose (sugar), we are able to see how the cells in your body are functioning.


Please let us know if you have diabetes, because this will affect the scan. You will need to be given special instructions.

If your appointment is before 1:00pm you will need to fast from midnight (nothing to eat and no sugary drinks from midnight). If your appointment is after 1:00pm you can have a light sugar-free breakfast prior to 7:00am (example: poached egg on toast, toast with vegemite, tea/coffee with no sugar).


You will be given an injection of a radiotracer (radioactive glucose) and asked to rest quietly for about an hour. You may also be given something which will make you sleepy. If so, you will need someone to drive you home. If either of these are required, you will be notified before your appointment. The PET scan will take approximately a further one hour.

Are there any side effects?

There are no side effects from the PET scan. However, if you need to have a sedative you will be sleepy and unable to drive for the rest of the day.

How long will the procedure take?

The PET scan will take 3 to 4 hrs from arrival to departure.

The radiologist / nuclear medicine physician will look at the images and provide a report to your referring doctor.


PET scanning is a test that needs to be reviewed alongside any CT scan or MRI you may have had.

Please bring any previous x-rays with you on the day of your examination.

It will not be possible to give you a ‘take-home’ report.