How can I preparing myself for a pet scan? I am going to have a pet scan done soon and I wanted to know what to expect. What are they? What do they look like? What do they detect? Does it hurt? Does it involve a tube like an MRI does?

Pretty Easy. First, follow all of the directions given to you by the imaging center re pet appt. That usually means no strenuous activity for 24 hours before the scan time, nothing to eat after midnight, etc. The scan uses an injection of radioactive, sterile fluid, like a blood test in reverse. You sit quietly for 1 hour and are scanned for about 20 min. The scanner is like a ct, not as tight as a mri.
Ask your MD. You need to know exactly what will happen to you and need to offer informed consent. Pet is an infusion of radioactive material into your body to see how it is taken up by different tissues of your body - especially tumors. Pet stands for positron emission tomography. There are many different methods that involve very complex detectors that can scan specific regions of the body.
PET . Pet imaging is based on the positron-emitting radionuclide fluorine-18 (f-18), which is used as a labelling tracer on a glucose molecule that is injected intravenously before the scan. This labeled glucose molecule concentrates in areas of high metabolic activity such as tumor cells. F-18 decay releases a positron, which annihilates with a nearby electron, to produce two photons that leave the body in opposite directions and are detected by a ring of detectors. The raw data are reconstructed by a computer into cross-sectional images of the body. Many new pet scanners are hybrid instruments that combine a pet scanner with a ct scanner for combined anatomic and physiologic imaging. A patient couch runs through both scanning assemblies, and computer software fuses the two sets of images. Before the scan, patients fast for 4 to 6 hours, and exercise is avoided for 24 hours. The radiotracer will be injected intravenously, and there may be mild pain or discomfort when the technologist first places the iv. Following the injection, the patient typically rests quietly for about one hour, without moving or talking. Just before the scan, the bladder is emptied either by voiding or by catheterization. During the scan, the patient lies on the back with arms either overhead or at the sides, depending on what body part is being examined and what position is best tolerated. The ct scan takes only about 2 minutes, and the pet scan takes between 30-60 minutes, depending on the anatomy covered.