PET/CT Scan Preparation and Exams

PET Scan

Typical reasons for PET Scans:

  • Cancer
  • Heart Problems
  • Brain Disorders
  • Central Nervous System Problems
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Brain Tumors
  • Memory Disorders
  • Seizures


  1. Eating: The day before your exam, follow a low carbohydrate diet, avoiding sweets, breads, pasta, rice, and cereals. Do not eat anything for at least 4-hours prior to your exam, however, try to drink 2 – 3 glasses of water during this time. Most medications do not interfere with this test and can be taken as usual.
  2. Diabetic Patients: For the test to be effective, it is important for your blood sugar levels to be low. At the time you schedule your appointment, please inform us if you are diabetic so we can provide special instructions.
  3. Exercise: Do not exercise within 24-hours of your scheduled PET scan appointment.
  4. Pain Medications: If you have difficulty lying on your back for any length of time, consider asking your doctor for pain medication to be taken prior to your exam.
  5. Claustrophobia: Most patients with claustrophobia tolerate a PET scan without difficulty. The unit is very open and only the portion of your body being imaged is within the scanner at any one time. Should you feel you may require sedation, you should discuss this need with your doctor prior to your appointment at the PET Scan Center.
  6. Prior Imaging Tests: It is very important that our radiologists have available the results of all previous imaging test (CT, MRI, PET, Sonogram, X-rays) that relate to the condition for which we are doing the PET scan. This enables the radiologist to provide the most accurate interpretation of your PET scan. Consequently, we ask that you make arrangements to deliver the films and reports for these tests to our PET Scan Center. Your PET Scan cannot be read until we have your prior imaging films and reports.

CT Scan

Typical types of CT Scans:

  • Abdomen Scan
  • Bladder Scan
  • Cervical Spine Scan
  • Cranial Scan
  • Fetus Scan
  • Gallbladder Scan
  • Heart Scan
  • Joint Scan
  • Prostate Scan
  • Spine Scan
  • Tumor Scan
  • Uterus Scan


Do not eat solid foods 4 hours prior to exam. Clear liquids and medications are allowed up to 1 hour before exam. Arrive at scheduled time.

Please bring all related films for our radiologist to review.

IMPORTANT – For patients or diabetic patients using Glucophage Glucovance, ACTOPlus or any other medication containing Metformin: You must contact the Center for special instructions before you begin this preparation. Also, if you are diabetic, age 60 or older, have a history of high blood pressure or have a known severe allergy, history of kidney disease, kidney tumor or kidney of liver transplant you must contact the Center for special instructions before you begin this preparation.

COVID-19 Update

The Governors of Maryland and Virginia have closed all non-essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Radiology centers have been classified as essential services. 

The health, well-being, and safety of our patients and staff is our top priority. We are committed to helping stop the spread of COVID-19. We have taken steps to continue providing only critical service required to meet the needs of the community.  After very careful consideration we have decided to reschedule all non-urgent imaging appointments as well as consolidate our services by adjusting hours and center openings. To protect everyone, we are closely following the guidance of local, national and global health authorities – including the CDC – in addressing current challenges. As circumstances continue to change, we will keep you informed.

As the situation continues to develop in our community, we want to maintain our ability to provide quality service while safeguarding the health and safety of our patients and staff. We realize these are tenuous times and we are actively monitoring the ongoing situation and following the latest available CDC guidelines. In an effort to limit the risk of exposure for our patients and our employees who may be in high-risk categories, we are asking that you:

Please do not go to a Fairfax Radiology Center/Radiology Imaging Associates location if ANY of the following apply:

    1. You have cough, fever, or shortness of breath
    2. You have traveled by airplane or to New York City in the past 14 days or less
    3. You have had contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who is undergoing a test (results pending) for COVID-19.

Instead, please contact your physician for instructions. Patients may call to reschedule their appointment once they are symptom and fever-free for a minimum of 24 hours without the use of medication.

Trusted and Credible Resources for Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates:

Radiology Imaging Associates Logo