What is a PET scan?

What is a PET scan anyway?

Well, its not for your beloved pet, the P-E-T in PET scan stands for Positron Emission Tomography.

A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is an imaging test that helps reveal how your tissues and organs are functioning. A PET scan uses a radioactive drug (tracer) to show this activity. This scan can sometimes detect disease before it shows up on other imaging tests.

The tracer may be injected, swallowed or inhaled, depending on which organ or tissue is being studied. The tracer collects in areas of your body that have higher levels of chemical activity, which often correspond to areas of disease. On a PET scan, these areas show up as bright spots.

A PET scan is useful in revealing or evaluating several conditions, including many cancers, heart disease and brain disorders. Often, PET images are combined with CT or MRI scans to create special views.

A PET scan is an effective way to examine the chemical activity in parts of your body. It may help identify a variety of conditions, including many cancers, heart disease and brain disorders. The pictures from a PET scan provide information different from that uncovered by other types of scans, such as computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A PET scan or a combined CT-PET scan enables your doctor to better diagnose illness and assess your condition.

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