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What is a PET/CT? Why have a PET/CT Scan? Why have a bone scan Scheduling Obtaining Results Insurance

Scheduling and Preparation

A signed order from your physician is required for any test that he or she feels would aid in diagnosing your condition or evaluating various treatments. We ask that your physician call us for a free consultation to decide whether an FDG PET/CT scan or 18F-Sodium Fluoride (NaF) PET/CT bone scan would be helpful in your case. Should your physician then order a PET/CT scan, we will need the following:

  • Medical history
  • Copies of previous relevant diagnostic studies (e.g., CT's, MRI's)
  • Written order/letter of medical necessity from your physician
  • Insurance information

We offer flexible scheduling at our five PET/CT locations and are willing to work to accommodate your specific needs. Our five PET/CT locations are:

  • New England PET Imaging System in Methuen, MA is a fixed PET/CT facility located on the grounds of Holy Family Hospital. Please call (978) 689-4738 for more information.
  • New England PET of Greater Lowell, is a fixed PET/CT facility located at The Cancer Center of Lowell General Hospital. Please call (978) 458-9872 for more information.
  • New England PET at The Elliot at River’s Edge is a mobile PET/CT facility in Manchester, NH. Please call (603) 663-2370 for more information.
  • Massachusetts Mobile PET, P.C., at Merrimack Valley Hospital is a mobile PET/CT facility in Haverhill, MA. Please call (888) 560-4738 for more information.

ATTENTION: Children cannot go into the exam room with you. If you have small children who are unable to say alone in the waiting room, please bring someone to watch them. We cannot be responsible for children left unattended.

PET/CT Scan—Patient Preparation (pdf format)
Very important note about your Arrival Time: The radiotracer that you will be receiving for your PET/CT scan is very time sensitive. It is extremely important that this radiotracer be administered at the designated time of your appointment. Plan to arrive for your appointment 15 minutes early to allow for paperwork. For example, if you are scheduled for an 8:00 AM scan, you should arrive at 7:45 AM to fill out paperwork and be ready to start on time.


  • No food for 4 hours prior to study. You are ENCOURAGED TO DRINK WATER, but no other type of liquid is allowed. Flavored water is NOT allowed. Please do not chew gum!

  • Please do not perform any strenuous physical activity (weight lifting, running, etc.) for 3 days prior to your PET scan.

  • For patients with a feeding tube, do NOT EAT FOOD for 6 hours prior to the PET/CT scan.

  • Patient should wear warm, loose-fitting clothing without zippers or any metallic objects. If patient wears anything else that might interfere with the scan, then patient will need to change into a hospital gown. If applicable, patients will also be required to remove dentures for the scan.

  • Patient should take regularly scheduled medications if they can be tolerated on an empty stomach.

  • Patient may be required to take medication to relax his/her muscles for the PET/CT examination. Please speak with your Physician regarding a PRESCRIPTION if needed, especially if there are concerns for claustrophobia. Patients should NOT take any such medication until after they have arrived and the PET/CT staff advises them to do so.

  • Nursing Home patients and Inpatients should discontinue IV’s with glucose at least 4 hours prior to scan (D5, D3).

  • Patient MUST bring photo ID, insurance cards and any pertinent CT or MRI films with him/her to the PET exam.

Diabetic patients who are insulin dependent must check with the NE PET office staff to review specific instructions:

  • Fasting for four hours prior to the PET/CT appointment time.

  • If patient has an appointment time for 7am or 8am: Patient should NOT take any insulin. Patient should bring their insulin with them for administration at the completion of the scan.

  • If patient has an appointment time for noon or 1pm: Patient should take ½ of their insulin along with a light breakfast and allow for 4 hours of fasting before the appointment time.

  • Patients with an insulin pump should not change anything except to fasting for 4 hours prior to the PET/CT appointment.

For more information on preparing for an PET/CT scan, click here to download our patient brochure “About Your PET/CT Scan” which will help to explain more about preparing for an FDG-PET/CT scan.

18F-Sodium Fluoride (NaF) PET/CT Bone Scans
Patients scheduled for 18F-Sodium Fluoride (NaF) PET/CT bone scans should allow 1 ½ - 2 hours for completion of their study, and they need not fast prior to the examination. Patients should take their regularly scheduled medications.

If the patient has any medical problems that may affect his or her ability to lie still for up to 45 minutes, please let the office staff know at the time of scheduling. Our office staff will ask if the patient is claustrophobic, needs pain medication, or requires sedation. If the patient needs sedation, it must be provided by the referring physician's office.

For more information on preparing for your 18F-Sodium Fluoride (NaF) PET/CT bone scan, click here to access our preparation sheet for 18F-Sodium Fluoride (NaF) PET/CT bone scans.







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