Mayo Clinic's approach

Evaluation at Mayo Clinic

You must complete an initial evaluation in the Department of Urology before being considered for the Choline C-11 PET scan. Following the consult, a determination will be made regarding the appropriateness of the scan. If the Choline C-11 PET scan is recommended, a separate return visit will likely be required to conduct the scan. Access for this scan is limited by the ability to produce the Choline C-11 imaging agent and appointment availability.

The local contractor for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved coverage of this scan for the indications of recurrent prostate cancer and biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer.

What to expect during your Choline C-11 PET scan

If it's determined that you're a candidate, you'll receive a full-body positron emission tomography (PET) scan using Choline C-11 Injection. At Mayo Clinic, you'll also receive a computerized tomography (CT) scan at the same time.

The entire scanning procedure — including preparation time — takes about an hour.

To prepare, you'll be asked to lie on your back on a movable table. You'll likely be strapped onto the table to help keep you from moving during the scan. You can wear your street clothes and small jewelry.

Just before the PET and CT scans, you'll receive the Choline C-11 agent through an injection in a vein in your arm. The table on which you're lying will then move into the scanner and the exam will begin.

The actual Choline C-11 PET scan and accompanying CT scan usually take about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the Choline C-11 agent degrades and is no longer useful in identifying sites of possible recurrent prostate cancer. During the scan, you may listen to music to help you relax.

When the scan is complete, the table moves out of the scanner, and you'll be free to leave. You can resume your daily activities. Your doctor will meet with you to discuss the results of your scan.

Possible risks associated with the Choline C-11 PET scan include imaging errors, allergic reaction to the imaging agent and mild injection site reactions. A Choline C-11 PET scan also contributes to your long-term cumulative radiation exposure.

Read the full prescribing information for Choline C-11 Injection.