Positron emission tomography(PET)is a nuclear imaging technique that uses radioactive tracers that are ingested or injected and then absorbed by body tissue. A scan will show areas of greater absorption (where more chemical activity is occurring in the body), which may indicate disease. PET scans can provide details about how well blood or oxygen travels throughout the body, how well sugar is processed, and more. A PET scan may reveal cancerous tissue not revealed by a CAT scan.
Computed tomography (CT)utilizes X-rays taken from different angles and then processed by a computer to create a 3D, cross-sectional image of the body. CT scans produce more accurate and precise images than X-rays. These scans can reveal the size, shape and location of a tumor, as well as the blood vessels feeding it.
Advantages of PET/CT Scans (when combined)
- Double the Diagnostic Clarity.Clearly, the fact that a PET scan and CT scan show different things, that when combined patients reap twice the diagnostic benefits. Alone, a PET scan will show areas of increased activity within the body – while a CT scan alone produces detailed images of tissues and organs inside the body. Together, the scans allow your doctor to see exactly where the issues are, and what may be contributing to it. It can help differentiate between a cancerous and noncancerous mass in the body.
- It is a relatively painless procedure that measures both anatomy and metabolic function within the patient’s body as images are captured in a single scan.
- The actual scan only takes about a half an hour to complete.
- Easy, Nondisruptive.Aside from the initial injection of the radioactive material, the exam is noninvasive and requires no recovery or downtime afterward. Patients may immediately assume normal activities after a PET/CT scan.