PSMA PET/CT scans are performed to help detect the spread of prostate cancer by using a hybrid scanning technique which combines a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan and a Computed Tomography (CT) scan.

PET scans are nuclear medicine techniques that use radiopharmaceuticals to image targeted areas of the body.  PSMA stands for Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen and is related to the function of the prostate.  This antigen is labelled with a radioactive isotope of fluorine (Fluorine-18, or 18F) and the low levels of radiation given off by it are used to create the functional images of the PET scan. The CT scan is an imaging technique which uses X-rays to create detailed anatomical images of the body. The PET and CT images are viewed together for interpretation of these 18F PSMA scans.

Important

To join the waiting list for PSMA PET/CT scans in Blackrock Clinic a request must be sent to our Nuclear Medicine department from a referring consultant, including reports from recent scans.

Each patient will be contacted by the department to make arrangements for their scan. Please do not contact the department yourself unless you have already been contacted.  

Insurance cover & Payment option

VHI has currently agreed to provide cover for patients with returning cancer under specific plans only. Pre-approval is required. If your health insurance does not cover this scan, self-funding is an available option. Please call our Freephone Enquiry Line on 1800 60 10 60 for information.

Once a patient has been scheduled for an appointment the following is to be considered:

Patient Preparation for PSMA PET/CT scans

  • Patients are asked to fast for 2 hours prior to their appointment time.
  • Patients are asked to stay hydrated with plain water.
  • All medication can be taken as normal.
  • A pre-injection questionnaire will be completed with the patient and a member of staff On arrival to the department.
  • The patient’s height and weight will be taken.
  • We ask that patients attend wearing loose clothing that have no zips, metal, buttons or studs. We may ask you to change into a hospital gown.
  • The radiopharmaceutical will be administered via injection through a cannula in the vein, normally in the arm. The patient will not feel any different after this injection.
  • The injection takes 2 hours to be absorbed by the cells in the body, called the uptake period. During this time the patient is asked to rest in one of our uptake rooms. They can bring something to read or listen to headphones.
  • After the uptake period the patient’s whole body will be scanned.
  • The scan lasts approximately 45 minutes.
  •  The patient will be in the department for roughly 3.5 hours.

Precaution

After administration of the radiopharmaceutical the patient will be slightly radioactive for 8 hours, it is a precaution to stay away from young children and pregnant women during this time.