PET/CT Scans

PET/CT scans can provide information that other imaging modalities such as ultrasound, x-ray, MRI or CT can’t. It is used to more accurately diagnose, localise and monitor cancer.

Our Nuclear Imaging and Therapy Centre gives patients access to Queensland’s first fully digital Discovery MI PET/CT Scanner, which can help clinicians in diagnosing and staging disease earlier.


    Positron Emission Tomography – Computed Tomography (PET/CT) is a non-invasive medical test used by doctors to diagnose and treat medical conditions. PET/CT is unique as the functional information PET provides is superimposed with CT imaging for precise anatomical localisation. Combining these scans in our state-of-the-art PET/CT scanner provides highly detailed information about the presence or current state of disease, as well as the precise location of disease.

    PET/CT scans can provide information that other imaging modalities such as ultrasound, x-ray, MRI or CT can’t provide, because radiologists can distinguish between living or dead tissue and benign or malignant tumours. If an area is a malignant cancer, the signals will be stronger compared with the surrounding normal tissue. If the area is dead tissue the signals will be less (or absent) compared with the surrounding normal tissue. PET/CT can identify early stage disease, sometimes before symptoms present.

    The main application of PET/CT is for detecting the spread of cancer to secondary sites, also known as cancer metastasis, prior to treatment. PET/CT is used to more accurately diagnose, localise and monitor cancer.

    PET/CT can also assess the blood flow and function of brain and heart tissue, and during the assessment of infection and inflammation.

    Billing policy

    Medicare provides funding for some PET/CT examinations when the scan is requested by a medical specialist. However, not all scans can be bulk-billed so we recommend that patients ask if there will be a fee when the booking is made.


    Once we receive a referral, one of our specially trained PET bookings agents will contact the patient and ask some questions about their medical history.

    Prior to the scan, patients will be required to fast and ensure they are well hydrated. This information will be provided at the time of booking. As the preparation for the scan can be quite complex, the booking agent will contact the patient the day prior to their appointment to re-confirm the appointment time and the preparation details. Patient preparation instructions can also be found on the back of the PET/CT request form.

    Patients over the age of 70 or diabetic patients may be asked to undergo a blood test prior to a PET scan to measure kidney function. Our booking agents can arrange this if no recent results are available.

    If patients have undergone any recent imaging in other centres, it is advisable to bring the reports along on the day to enable comparison.

    Claustrophobic patients should inform staff at the time of booking and bring a driver or utilise public transport.


    Patients are advised to allow 3 hours for an appointment.

    Upon arrival, the patient will be asked to change into a gown and one of our Nuclear Medicine Technologists will complete a short questionnaire. A cannula will be inserted into a vein in the arm or hand. The technologist will then inject the radioactive tracer. Depending on the examination type, patients will then be required to rest quietly for 45-60 minutes in their own room in a comfortable recliner chair. Staff will be present throughout this time to monitor any needs of the patient. Prior to the scan, the patient will be asked to empty their bladder to ensure clearer images of the pelvic area. Imaging takes 30-45 minutes.


    Upon completion of the scan, a Nuclear Medicine Technologist will check the quality of the images whilst the patient changes out of the gown. Patients will be provided with light refreshments during this time. Once the cannula has been removed, patients may leave the department.

    Following a PET/CT exam, it is advised that patients maintain hydration throughout the remainder of the day and go to the toilet when required. This is to assist in flushing the remainder of the radioactive injection and iodinated contrast media out of the system.

    One of our radiologists will interpret the scan and provide your referring doctor with a comprehensive report about the findings. The results of your scan will be sent directly to your referring doctor, and it is very important you book a timely follow-up appointment to discuss your results.


    The amount of radioactivity used for PET imaging is very small, and remains within the body for several hours following the injection. Side effects are extremely rare.

    Patients should advise staff if they will be seeing small children (under 5 years of age) or pregnant women on the day of their scan, so they can receive specific instructions.

    During your scan patients may be given contrast for the CT scan. Patients should inform staff if they;

    • are ASTHMATIC
    • are DIABETIC

    If sedation is required for your scan (due to claustrophobia) you will be unable to drive for 12 hours.

Find out more about the PET/CT services we offer in this area

Please note; not all services are listed below, and not all services are available at every site

18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) is the most common radioactive tracer used in PET/CT imaging. Most commonly used in the assessment of cancer, it can also be used to image infection, inflammation and various conditions of the brain. 18F-FDG is a radioactive glucose molecule (sugar) that provides function information about cancer cells as well as providing information as to the location and extent of cancer and is a critical tool in the management of oncology.

Make an appointment online or call our dedicated bookings line