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 pinpoint 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 to 40 minutes.  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.

WA PET Services

The Nuclear Medicine Department and WA PET Service at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital consists of:

  • Administration Staff
  • Nuclear Medicine Laboratory Manager
  • Nuclear Medicine Physicians
  • Nuclear Medicine Physicists
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologists
  • Nursing Staff
  • Unit  and Imaging Assistant Staff

All preparation advice for your scan will be mailed to you prior to your appointment.

Please inform us if you are or may be pregnant or breastfeeding BEFORE your scan

Results take approximately two working days to reach the referring doctor.


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: 20/06/2024