What Should I Do the Night Before a Pet Scan?
A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a diagnostic imaging technique used to detect diseases and abnormalities in the body. It is an important tool in the diagnosis and monitoring of various conditions, including cancer, neurological disorders, and heart disease. If you have a PET scan scheduled for the next day, here are a few things you should do the night before to ensure a successful and accurate scan:
1. Review the preparation instructions: Your healthcare provider will provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare for the PET scan. It is essential to review these instructions carefully and follow them precisely. This may include avoiding certain foods and medications before the scan.
2. Avoid strenuous exercise: Engaging in intense physical activity the night before a PET scan can affect the results. It is advisable to refrain from rigorous exercise or any strenuous activities that could elevate your heart rate or metabolism.
3. Follow fasting instructions: PET scans often require fasting for a specific period before the procedure. Typically, you will be advised to avoid eating or drinking anything, except water, for at least 4-6 hours before the scan. Make sure to adhere to these fasting instructions to ensure accurate results.
4. Stay hydrated: While fasting is necessary, it is important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Hydration helps optimize the flow of blood and urine, which aids in the elimination of the radioactive tracer used during the scan.
5. Dress comfortably: Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing on the day of the scan. Avoid wearing jewelry, metal accessories, or clothing with zippers, as they may interfere with the scan.
6. Arrange transportation: Depending on the sedation used during the scan, you may not be able to drive afterward. It is recommended to arrange for someone to drive you home following the procedure.
7. Relax and get a good night’s sleep: It is normal to feel anxious before a PET scan. Try to relax and get a good night’s sleep to ensure you are well-rested and calm for the procedure. Adequate rest will also help you stay still during the scan, reducing the chances of motion artifacts.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
1. Can I eat or drink before a PET scan?
It is generally advised to fast for a specific period before the scan, except for water. Follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider.
2. Can I take my regular medications?
Consult your healthcare provider regarding your regular medications. Some medications may need to be temporarily discontinued before the scan.
3. Can I drive myself to the PET scan appointment?
Depending on the sedation used, you may not be able to drive afterward. It is best to arrange for transportation to and from the appointment.
4. Will the PET scan be painful?
PET scans are generally painless. However, you may experience some discomfort during the injection of the radioactive tracer.
5. How long does a PET scan take?
The scan itself usually takes about 30-60 minutes. However, the entire process, including preparation, can take a few hours.
6. Can I bring someone with me to the scan?
Most facilities allow a companion to accompany you during the scan. However, they may need to stay in a designated waiting area during the procedure.
7. Are there any side effects of a PET scan?
The radioactive tracer used in PET scans is generally safe and has few side effects. However, some individuals may experience allergic reactions or mild discomfort at the injection site.
Remember, it is crucial to follow all instructions provided by your healthcare provider to ensure the best possible results from your PET scan.