Most everyone already knows how immensely useful PET scans and other nuclear medical imaging methods really are, especially when it comes to the detection of various medical diseases and conditions even at the earliest onset of the disease at the molecular phase. With PET scans, a wide variety of conditions, including various types of cancer, gastrointestinal and endocrinal issues, neurological issues, and heart disease, along with other conditions, can be detected. Cancer treatment can also be assessed, and a PET scan will also be able to tell if a cancer has come back even after treatment.

If you have been recommended for a PET scan, there’s no need to fear – it’s a relatively painless procedure and all that is needed is to either swallow, inhale, or be injected with a radioactive material called a radiotracer or radiopharmaceutical for the procedure to commence. But there’s also a proper way to prepare yourself for the procedure. Here’s how you can best prepare yourself for a PET scan.

The preparations

Depending on the clinic or centre, you will either be asked to don a gown or wear the same clothing you had when you walked in. It’s also best not to wear any jewellery or any objects which may be wholly or partially comprised of metal, such as dentures, hairpins, and eyeglasses, and to wear comfortable clothes, especially loose clothes. If you have any hearing aids, the specialist may also ask for them to be removed.

You should make it a point to talk to the specialist if you have had any recent medical condition which had to be treated or if you are taking medication, even if you are only taking vitamins or supplements. You should also inform the specialist if you have any allergies, which is particularly important.

For women

One particular factor to bear in mind: if you are a woman and you are still breastfeeding or you think you may be pregnant, you should inform the specialist. Women who are still breastfeeding should ask the physician how the scan will proceed, and it may also be a good idea to save breast milk beforehand so you can use it after the procedure rather than pumping breast milk afterwards.

Before the scan

Before the procedure, you will be asked to refrain from eating, and you can only drink water a few hours before the scheduled scan – refrain from drinking liquids with calories or sugars. The food may restrict the distribution of the radiopharmaceutical or radiotracer in the body, resulting in a scan that is sub-par.

When it comes to PET scans, it’s best to be prepared, as suggested by the private PET scan experts in London from Alliance Medical. This way, you can be sure that the procedure will offer the clearest results.