WA PET Department

PET stands for positron emission tomography and is a type of medical imaging that uses PET cameras to take images of the body.

All PET studies are performed with a low dose CT so that we can image physiology and anatomy respectively. This allows us to pin point sites of abnormal function to an anatomical location.

During a standard PET exam a radiopharmaceutical is administered intravenously (that is, an injection into a vein) so that we can image the structures in the body. The radiopharmaceutical consists of two parts; the first is a radioisotope containing a small amount of radiation and the second is a tracer that tells the isotope where to go in the body.

As we perform a variety of PET imaging studies, all preparation and timing relating to your scan will be mailed out to you prior to your appointment.

Generally a PET scan will involve:

  • Preparation: for example, you may be given a special diet or asked to fast prior to your PET scan
  • Infusion: you will be given an injection of radioactive tracer through a canula (drip) placed in a vein in your arm.
  • Uptake: there may be a necessary gap between your injection and your scan while we wait for your body to incorporate the injected tracer.  For most PET scans this gap will be approximately 1 hour, during which time your movement will be restricted.
  • Imaging: The scan will generally take 20-40 mins.  A picture of what one of our PET cameras looks like can be seen at the top of this website in the header.

The entire procedure generally takes between 2 and 3 hours.

The Nuclear Medicine Department and WA PET Service are actively involved in research projects including internal, inter-hospital and international studies. We have a team of research staff that specialise in the process of research application and recruitment. Our department is currently focusing on oncology and infection research with a focus on the PET modality. If you have any enquiries regarding our research please contact us by email at scghresearchnmpet@health.wa.gov.au.

Last Updated: 23/08/2021