Test Details & Preparation
What is a PET scan?
Positron emission tomography (PET or PET scan) is a specialized radiology procedure which is used to test different body tissues to identify some of the conditions. PET may also be used to follow the progress of the treatment of some of the conditions.
PET is a type of nuclear medicine procedure. This means that a small amount of a radioactive substance, called a radionuclide is used to perform the procedure.
Specifically, PET studies calculate the metabolism of a particular organ or tissue, so that information about the functionality and structure of the organ or tissue is calculated, as well as its biochemical properties.
Thus, PET may detect biochemical changes in an organ or tissue that can identify the onset of a disease process before anatomical changes related to the disease can be seen with other imaging processes, such as computed tomography (CT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
However, as advances in PET technologies continue, this procedure is beginning to be used more widely in other areas.
PET is also being used in combination with other diagnostic tests such as computed tomography scan to provide more definitive information about cancerous tumors and other lesions. The combination of PET and CT shows particular promise in the diagnosis and treatment of many types of cancer.