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Preparing for a PET Scan

Accredited by the American College of Radiology

The team at Children's Mercy has this information to answer your questions and help you prepare your child for their visit. 

When you arrive at the radiology department, your child will have an IV placed or a central line will be used. A small amount of material that can be seen by the scan will be injected through the IV. The nuclear medicine technologist will take your child’s pictures three hours later. This time allows that material to circulate through your child's body. The pictures take about one hour with your child lying on their back. They will need to remain still and cannot get up during the pictures.

Preparation instructions


  • Nothing to eat or drink six hours prior to scan

  • No strenuous exercise for 24 hours prior to exam

  • The day prior to the exam, the patient should consume low-carbohydrate foods

  • No gum, candy, breath mints the morning of the exam

  • Many families have found the additional information provided from valuable as they have prepared for this type of scan 

  • The Image Gently Alliance  may help you understanding types of imaging and what "imaging safely" means to you and your child

Safe, expert imaging for your child

Children's Mercy has been awarded accreditation in all areas of imaging technology by the American College of Radiology. This represents the highest level of image quality and radiation safety.