+ Reply
Log in or Register to participate in these discussions
PET scan experiences please.
1654 Posts

How to lessen anxiety and claustrophobia for a full PET scan? (Question from Mystery)

@Mystery - hello again. I copied and pasted your post here in the treatments and side effects forum from your profile page so it is more visible to others. My son had difficulty with his last MRI and they do offer sedation if you have claustrophobia symptoms etc., but I’m not sure how pet scans work.
I’m going to tag @ACH2015 who has had them. Others will be along to share also.

Wishing you the best


4 Replies
2192 Posts

Hi @Mystery

I have had several PET and any other scan you can imagine.

If you are claustrophobic or nervous, you might ask for a mild sedative. It is very important not to move during the PET or any other scan in order to get clear images.

Some hospitals offer headphones with music. You may be thinking of an MRI machine which is a full body scan that is very tight to the body. A PET scan is basically two CT scanners you go through and has lots of space above your head / body.

Hope this helps, I always remember in the front of my mind that these scans are our best friend in diagnosis and treatment.

Let us know how your scan turns out.


1134 Posts

@Mystery I had a PET scan about a year ago. I have also had several CT scans and bone scans. I get into full on panic mode when the machines are too close to my face. For some reason CT Scans don’t bother me from a claustrophobic perspective. I just close my eyes and it is is over so fast that it’s not been an issue. However bone scans were a different thing altogether. I did mention it to the technician and she put a washcloth over my face and sat with me I until my head was out of the machine. It worked great for me. When I had the PET scan there is so much more room in the machine that I didn’t find it a problem. I wouldn’t hesitate to tell them how you’re feeling. The technician told me they are quite used to people with anxiety and claustrophobia.

I wish you well with your scan.

11 Posts

@JustJan thank you.

6 Posts

The picture below is very similar to the PET scanner I went through about 3 months after completing chemotherapy (R-CHOP) – to see if there was any cancer left. (There wasn't.) I also held my hands above my head like this and just relaxed into it. My scan was from my neck downwards to just below my groin – I think about 10-15 minutes total. So, my head was never under the ‘donut’ except to get me into the initial position, then out again. The ceiling actually had light panels of blue sky with fluffy white clouds on it!

Personally I found the PET scanner much less daunting than a CT machine ('thinner donut'). It was very much quieter. The room temperature needs to be quite cool for it to operate properly, so I was glad to have a sweater on under the blanket.

The marvellous thing about these is that they have greater resolution than the CT scanners, and the 3D image they generate is colour coded. As a result, they build a much more detailed interior picture of you. Also, given the phenomenal cost of these scanners, and the expertise required of their operators, I felt it was a privilege to be scanned by one.

Best of luck on the day.


+ Reply