Precise Images of the Inner Body

PET/CT is an imaging procedure that provides physicians with information about the body’s chemistry, cellular function and exact location of disease. The precise images obtained with PET/CT are not available with other technologies, such as CT, MRI, PET, or X-ray alone.

PET/CT can provide information that enables your physician to make an earlier diagnosis or to determine the effectiveness of treatment.

Winchester Hospital’s PET/CT services are conveniently located at the Family Medical Center, 500 Salem Street in Wilmington. Get directions.

Scheduling a PET/CT Exam

PET/CT can be scheduled by calling:
781-756-2211, press 2
Fax: 978-657-5826

PET/CT exams require a physician’s order at the time of booking. You may be required to have pre-authorization from your insurance carrier prior to your exam. Please check with your insurance company.

Preparing for a PET/CT Exam

Some important things you should know:
  • Arrive on time for the exam. You can expect to be at the PET/CT facility for at least two hours. 
  • Bring your insurance cards, referral form, current list of medications, any previous X-rays, CT and MR films/CDs. 
  • Wear comfortable clothing. Avoid underwire bras, girdles, metal snaps or pins. Leave all valuables at home. 
  • Do not eat four hours before your exam. You are encouraged to drink water. 
  • Do not eat/drink caffeine at all during the day until after your appointment. 
  • Do not chew gum or have breath mints during the day prior to your appointment. 
  • Do not exercise or do strenuous activities the day before and the day of your exam. 
  • If you are nursing, pregnant, or think you could be pregnant, you should consult your physician before you have a PET/CT scan. 
  • If you have diabetes, you will be given instructions by your doctor related to your diabetic medications for the day of your PET/CT scan. 
  • If you are on any medications for seizures, please inform the technologist. 
  • All other medications should be taken as prescribed. 

If you must reschedule or cancel your appointment, please give us at least 24-hour notice. This is very important because the medication used for your scan is specially ordered and prepared the day before your appointment.

What to Expect

Prior to the scan you will be injected with a small amount of radioactive glucose tracer (such as sugar). The tracer is labeled with a short-lived radioisotope. You will be asked to rest for approximately 45 minutes while your body metabolizes the glucose tracer.

During the exam you will lie on the scanner table. As the tracer emits signals, the PET/CT scanner detects and records the information, which is then converted into images through computer processing. 

After your exam:
  • Avoid close contact with family and friends, especially infants and children. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids and try to urinate as often as you can. 
  • When using the bathroom, make sure you flush the toilet twice. Also, any spillage should be wiped up with a tissue and the tissue should be flushed down the toilet immediately. 
  • If you breastfeed, you should wait 24 hours after your PET/CT scan before breastfeeding your child or expressing your breast for milk use. 
  • If your injection site becomes red, hot or swollen, please contact your doctor. 

Paying for Your Procedure

Although Winchester Hospital accepts most major commercial insurance plans, Medicare, Medicaid and Worker’s Compensation, it is important to check with your carrier prior to your exam to determine coverage. If you do not have health insurance, we accept MasterCard or Visa, personal checks or cash. We also are willing to set up payment plans.

Getting Your Results 

Your exam will be interpreted by a radiologist using our state-of-the-art picture archiving and communication system (PACS). The results will then be sent to your doctor. Your doctor, in turn, will review the results with you to determine the best course of treatment.

To get a copy of your images, you will need to pre-arrange their release by calling the Family Medical Center at 978-988-6040. A 36- to 48-hour notice is preferred for most efficient customer service. 

Imaging Services

Winchester Hospital offers a wide array of leading-edge diagnostic imaging services close to home, led by a team of highly-skilled general and specialty radiologists, nurses, technologists and support staff.

Home Care Services

At every stage of life and for every medical need, Winchester Home Care can help, with home care services for people facing challenges of later life stages, with new babies, with disabilities, fighting illnesses, and more.

Rehabilitation Services

Winchester Hospital offers a variety of rehabilitation services – including cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation as well as physical, occupational and speech therapy – to help you get back to your normal routine.