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Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan

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What is a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan?

A PETPositron Emission Tomography scan uses a substance called a radioactive tracer which, after entering the body, becomes absorbed into organs and tissues. The PET scanner highlights the tracer, showing how well the organs and tissue are functioning.

This type of scan is used in the detection of cancer, heart conditions, brain abnormalities, and complications in the central nervous system.

A PET scan can be combined with both MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) and CT (Computed tomography) scans:

  • A PET/MRI exam combines a PET scan with an MRI scan to create highly detailed images of the physical anatomy. The MRI displays the internal structures of the body while the PET highlights abnormalities related to disease
  • A PET/CT scan combines a PET scan with a CT scan to reveal the location of diseases within the body. A PET/CT study gives the provider a better chance of catching disease in its earliest stage than other imaging methods.

PET/MRI scans expose patients to approximately 50% less radiation than PET/CT scans.

For general questions or to reschedule an exam.

Call (585) 784-2985

UR Medicine's Approach

You may receive a call from us to review your medical history to determine that no issues exist preventing you from having a scan.

If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please call (585) 784-2985 at least 24 hours before your procedure. The radiopharmaceutical used for this test is purchased 24 hours prior to testing and cannot be returned, saved, or used on another patient. 

So we can make any needed changes to your treatment plan, we ask that you call at least three days ahead if you:

  • Believe you may be pregnant, you are nursing, or you are claustrophobic
  • Have had a contrast allergy/reaction (i.e., hives, rash, itching, breathing difficulty) while undergoing a previous imaging study
  • Have a pacemaker or surgical implant
  • Have obstructive sleep apnea
  • Are taking diabetic medication
  • Or have had any other imaging studies performed at institutions other than Strong Memorial Hospital, Highland Hospital, or University Medical Imaging (UMI), so prior images may be requested for comparison.

Instructions Before Your Procedure

24 hours prior to your procedure: 

  • Do not consume caffeine, alcohol or tobacco. Remove any nicotine patches.
  • Maintain a low carbohydrate diet. Refrain from eating pasta, breads, potatoes, cereals, rice, desserts, candy and sugar. Do not use gum, mints, throat sprays, tums or cough drops.
  • Do not exercise and avoid strenuous activity such as yard work and house work).

Six hours prior to your procedure:

  • Do not eat. This includes gum, candy and mints. However, you should have two glasses of water (about 16 ounces total) before arriving for your exam.

Instructions for the Day of Your Procedure

  • Please arrive on time. The radiopharmaceutical used for this procedure will not allow us to accommodate late patients and may result in your exam having to be rescheduled.
  • Keep warm if your appointment is scheduled during a cold month. Heat your car prior to leaving home for your appointment. The quality of the scan can be affected if a patient is exposed to cold temperatures for a long period of time.
  • Remove and leave all jewelry and/or metal at home.
  • Leave valuables at home.
  • Bring your insurance card and photo ID.
  • If you are pregnant, nursing, or claustrophobic, notify the nuclear medicine technologist.
  • If you have a known contrast allergy, notify the nuclear medicine technologist or nurse.
  • All medications, except for diabetic, can be taken with water.
  • A parent/guardian should remain in the building when a child (under 19 years) is having an imaging procedure.
  • All parents/guardians having an imaging study must be aware that there is no supervision available for children. Please do not have children accompany you to your appointment.

Instructions After Your Procedure

  • After the procedure, please wait three hours before getting very close to children, pregnant women, or pets.
  • Your results will be sent to your referring physician within two business days. Please contact your physician.
  • If you have a MyChart account, your results will be posted in 14 days.

What Sets Us Apart?

UR Medicine's Department of Imaging is at the forefront of diagnostic and therapeutic imaging technologies. Radiology is a medical specialty that has become much more than just X-rays, and the name of our department reflects this evolution. Our faculty are nationally recognized authorities in their respective fields. We have a state-of-the-art, multi-million-dollar PET-CT imaging facility and cyclotron—the only center like it in upstate New York.

We bring together education, research, and clinical expertise within a leading academic health sciences environment. UR Medicine's Department of Imaging is able to provide a variety of radiologic services to meet our patients' needs.


We serve you in the Rochester metropolitan area and surrounding region.

1 location

Imaging - East River Road - Rochester
Part of Strong Memorial Hospital

200 East River Road
Rochester, NY 14623

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