PET (Positron Emission Tomography)

PET (Positron Emission Tomography)

PET services are only available at BMI University Hospital Geelong

We will need to see your request form prior to making your booking, to allow us to review any preparation instructions that you will need to follow.

You can bring your request into BMI University Hospital Geelong or alternatively your request may be faxed to 4215 0442 or emailed to Please ensure your current contact details including, address, mobile telephone number and email address (if preferred) are provided.

BMI will then contact you by telephone to discuss a suitable appointment time as well as any relevant clinical history and preparation. Please inform the receptionist if you are a diabetic as extra preparation is required.

An appointment confirmation letter and a patient questionnaire will also be mailed to you.

What to expect?

Upon arrival for your scan, a nuclear medicine technologist will meet with you to discuss your scan and answer any further questions you may have. They will also run through a questionnaire with you and check your Blood Sugar Level.

For your PET scan, you will be required to change into a gown. Any jewellery or piercings in the area we are scanning must also be removed as metal can interfere with your scans.

In one of our resting rooms the tracer will be injected, via a needle in your arm. Our staff will direct you to remain resting on a bed in this room for one hour, keeping as still as possible, as too much movement can affect the way the tracer is taken up into the tissues. A television is available, and our staff can see you at all times and will ensure that you are kept warm and comfortable.

After resting for one hour, you will be asked to go to the toilet and then taken into the PET scan room.

You will be positioned on the PET scanning bed with a under your knees for comfort. We can see and talk to you from the console area at all times which is located just outside the scan room.

The PET scanner is a large doughnut shaped scanner and the PET bed will move in and out of the scanner when your images are being taken. You just need to remain still and can breath normally throughout the entire PET scan.

If you are have a CT scan with your PET, you will remain on the scanner bed a little bit longer whilst another set of pictures are taken.

Once your scan is completed, you will return to the resting room for a few minutes whilst we check your pictures. You will then be able to get changed and leave.

What is PET?

PET is a type of nuclear medicine scan which is done on a special type of scanner, with a particular type of radioactive tracers. Like other nuclear medicine scans, this tracer is introduced into your body to investigate the function of particular organs.

At BMI we have an advanced scanner which allows us to do a PET and a CT scan at the same time. This enables us to acquire more detail in your pictures, to assist with diagnosis.

How long do PET Scans take?

The length of time a PET scan will take is variable, depending on whether you are also having a CT scan. The tracer takes approximately 1 hour to absorb, with the actual scanning time ranging from 20 – 40 minutes. We ask that you allow two hours in total for your appointment.

Preparation for PET Scans

Specific preparation for PET scans is required. Our staff will discuss these with you when they call to make your booking and the preparation instructions are included in your appointment confirmation letter as well.

General preparation includes fasting for six hours prior to your scan.

Should you have Diabetes, as part of your preparation you will be required to attend a Diabetes Clinic a few days prior to your PET scan. This is to ensure your blood sugar levels are adequately controlled as this can affect the quality of your picture. Diabetic medication will need to be ceased for your PET scan. This will be discussed with you at the PET Diabetes

Read More on Preparation..

Fasting – This includes all food, cough lollies, mints and chewing gum. You are also asked to have 3 glasses of plain water in the 90 minutes prior to your appointment. You may go to the toilet as often as needed during this time. Patients are asked not to have any medication with a shiny/sugary coating on the morning of the scan. In addition patients are asked to avoid any type of exercise in the 24 hours prior to the scan.

Safety Issues

Because you will have a small amount of radioactive material in your body, we advise you to avoid close contact with children (under the age of eighteen) and pregnant women for 24hours after your scan.

Breastfeeding mothers will need to cease breastfeeding for a period of time following their scan.

Nuclear Medicine staff will advise if this is necessary and also the length of time for which breastfeeding will need to be suspended.

Please inform us, if you are pregnant or believe there is a possibility you could be pregnant, so that we may discuss this with you and your referrer.

Further information on Radiation precautions can be found under our FAQ section.

Contact Us

If you require further information regarding a Nuclear Medicine scan please call Barwon Medical Imaging on 4215 0350.