Man entering into PET/CT equipment

What is Positron Emission Tomography?

Positron emission tomography, also called a PET scan, is a nuclear medicine exam that produces a three dimensional image of functional processes in the body. A PET scan uses a small amount of a radioactive drug to show differences between healthy and diseased issue. The diagnostic images produced by PET are used to evaluate a variety of diseases.

What are some common uses of PET?

  • to detect cancer
  • to detect skeletal abnormalities
  • to evaluate the heart for:
    • blood flow
    • signs of coronary artery disease
    • heart function
  • to evaluate the brain for:
    • memory disorders
    • Alzheimer’s disease
    • brain tumors
    • seizure disorders

How should I prepare for this procedure?

PET is usually done on an outpatient basis. You should:

  • wear comfortable clothes with little to no metal
  • not eat for four to six hours before your scan
  • not exercise for 24 hours before your scan
  • drink plenty of water
  • consult with scheduling department if you are diabetic
  • consult with your doctor regarding the use of medications before the test

What should I expect during this exam?

  • You receive an intravenous (IV) injection of the radioactive substance.
  • The radioactive substance will then take approximately 30 to 90 minutes to travel through your body and be absorbed by the tissue under study. During this time, you will be asked to rest quietly and avoid significant movement or talking, which may alter the localization of the administered substance.
  • You will be asked to void your bladder prior to the scan.
  • You will be positioned on the PET scanner table and be asked to lie still during your exam.
  • A quick CT scan will be done to plan the PET/CT scan.
  • PET scanning takes 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Some patients who are being evaluated for heart disease may undergo a stress test in which PET scans are obtained while they are at rest, and again after undergoing the administration of a pharmaceutical to alter the blood flow to the heart.
  • Usually, there are no restrictions on daily routine after the test. You are encouraged to drink plenty of fluids to flush the radioactive substance from your body and limit your expose to pregnant woman and small children for 24 hours after the scan.

What will I experience during the procedure?

  • If given an intravenous injection, you will feel like a slight prick. However, you will not feel the substance in your body.
  • You will be made as comfortable as possible on the exam table before you are positioned in the PET scanner for the test.
  • You will hear buzzing or clicking sounds during the exam.
  • Patients who are claustrophobic may feel some anxiety while positioned in the scanner.
  • Some patients find it uncomfortable to hold still in one position for more than a few minutes.
Woman taking a PET/CT

Center Location

Abington PET/CT is conveniently located just minutes from the PA turnpike exit 343, in the Abington Health Center Schilling Campus. Offering free parking and advanced imaging services.

Abington PET/CT of Willow Grove

2701 Blair Mill Rd.
Blairwood Building Suite 9
Willow Grove PA 19090

Phone Number 215-481-3377

Fax Number 215-481-7682

Hours of Operation

Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Scheduling Information

Please call 215-481-3377 to schedule your PET/CT scan.