What is a Ga-68 PET-CT Scan?

PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography with Computerised Tomography) is a scanning method that allows us to detect abnormalities in the body. For this scan an injection containing a small amount of radioactivity called Ga68 (Gallium-68) which helps us to identify certain types of tumours is administered to the patient.

There are 2 types of Ga-68 scans:

  • Ga-68 DOTATATE scan – for neuro endocrine tumors
  • Ga-68 PSMA scan – for prostate tumors

Ga-68 will be tagged with either the DOTATATE peptide or the PSMA before being injected to patients.

What are the benefits of Ga-68 PET-CT Scan?

A Ga-68 PET-CT scan allows us to perform two types of scan at the same time, without movement, giving us a more complete picture of your body. It allows us to look at both the structure (what it looks like) and function (how it works) of the organs and tissues. It is very detailed and sensitive, so will help the doctors looking after you to monitor your treatment. It also gives them different information from that of a CT or MRI scan.

Preparation for Ga-68 PET-CT Scan

  • Once the appointment is confirmed, you will require to pay advanced deposit 3 days before your appointment.
  • Please let us know as soon as possible if you are on one of the following, as it may be necessary to schedule the scan to fit in with your injections:
    – monthly octreotide LAR (also known as Sandostatin LAR)
    – monthly lanreotide (also known as Lanreotide Autogel) or
    – short-acting octreotide injections (usually 2-3 times per day)

This is because a short interruption of the drug may be needed prior to the scan. If required we will discuss this with your consultant.

  • Do continue your usual medications (blood pressure, diabetic, etc) as normal
  • No fasting required. You should continue to eat and drink as usual before the scan.
  • No physical activity restriction required.
  • Do let us know if you are claustrophobic.
  • Do let us know if you have a medical problem that may affect your ability to lie still for up to 1 hour.
  • Please try to leave all jewellery at home, as you will need to remove all metal for the scan.
  • Please allow plenty of time to get to your appointment, as the tracer is individually prepared for you and has a very short shelf life, so scans cannot normally be delayed.
  • You must tell us in advance if you know you are (or think you may be) pregnant, or breast feeding.
  • Do bring along your recent radiological films and reports.

On the day of your appointment

  • You are required to arrive at our centre 30 minutes earlier. Proceed to the registration counter for the registration.
  • Pass all your recent radiological films to the radiographer.

What happens during my Ga-68 PET-CT Scan?

  • Our staff will fully explain the procedure to you when you arrive for your appointment.
  • A cannula (small tube) will be inserted into a vein in either your hand or arm, and then the radioactive tracer will be given through it. The cannula will remain in place until the scan is complete.
  • You will then be asked to sit and relax alone, for around 60 minutes before having the scan
  • You can listen to music and read but will not be able to have anyone sitting with you during this time. You can continue to eat and drink.
  • Just before the scan begins you will be asked to empty your bladder.
  • We will then ask you to lie on the scan bed, with your arms raised above your head, or by your sides.
  • We will make sure you are as comfortable as possible for the scan, as it is extremely important that you remain as still as you can. Most scans last between 30 to 45 minutes

Will I feel anything during my scan?

    • There are no side effects from the tracer injection, it will not make you feel sleepy or affect your ability to drive.


What happens after my Ga-68 PET-CT Scan?

  • After the scan you will be isolated for another 30 minutes. Light refreshments will be served during this isolation period.
  • Drink plenty of water after the scan and do empty your bladder regularly.
  • The whole process will take approximately 3-4 hours.
  • Ga-68 PET-CT report will be ready by noon the following day.

How safe is the examination?

  • There are small risks associated with radiation from the tracer that you have been given. However, the images give the doctors important information about your condition that helps in your treatment. The benefits of the information from the scan outweigh the small risks from the exposure to radiation.

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