Most people are familiar with CT scans and MRI scans. However, not many people know what a PET scan is. With this in mind, let’s take a look at what a PET scan is and what it’s used for.
What is a PET Scan?
A Positron Emission Tomography scan, or PET scan, is a type of imaging test that allows doctors to study and check for diseases and conditions in the body. It uses a special dye that contains radioactive tracers to detect the activity inside the body at a cellular level. Not only does it show the appearance of organs and tissue, it also shows how they are functioning in the body. This highlights when a part of the body is not functioning as it should, leading to faster and more accurate diagnosis.
A PET scan can work alongside an MRI or CT scan. The role of a CT or MRI scan is to produce an image which can pinpoint the exact location of specific activities in the body. From here, the PET scan is conducted to reveal the problems on a cellular level. PET scans offer a much more detailed depiction of what’s going on in the body.
How is a PET Scan Performed?
The procedure begins by putting a radiotracer in the body. This can be done by either an injection into a vein, taken orally, breathed in as a gas, or directly injected into an organ. It can take the radiotracer 30 to 90 minutes to reach its targeted location.
Once prepared, the patient is taken to a room for the scan. The patient will lie down on an examination table, which will slide into the circular hole of an imaging machine. This machine will take images of the body being examined. A PET scan can take up to 30 minutes to complete. After the scan, the patient will be asked to consume large amounts of liquids to flush out the radioactive drugs quickly. The radiotracers should leave the body within 4 hours or less.
Once the images are collected, the doctor will review the results and either recommend further testing or give a diagnosis and treatment recommendations, depending on the results.
What are PET Scans Used For?
PET scans give doctors the ability to decipher issues in the body’s complex systems with ease. There are a variety of uses of a PET scan. Here are some examples:
- Brain Disorders PET scans allow doctors to see how a brain is working and pinpoint abnormalities that may exist. Based on the location of the abnormality, doctors are able to determine what kind of health problem a patient is having. PET scans help diagnose various central nervous system disorders such as head trauma, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy.
- Heart Problems A PET Scan can determine which parts of the heart have been scarred or damaged because of a cardiovascular problem. It also pinpoints specific circulation problems happening in the heart. This helps doctors correctly and quickly diagnose health problems and recommend treatments.
- Cancer PET Scans also detect cancer cells because of their high level of chemical activity. With this in mind, this procedure can be useful in:
- Detecting the presence of cancer in different parts of the body
- Revealing the stage of the disease
- Showing where the cancer cells have spread
- Determining whether cancer treatment is effective in fighting the disease
- Checking for the recurrence of cancer
PET Scans in Florida
If you are in need of imaging services, consider the experts at Independent Imaging. Independent Imaging offers a wide range of testing services to patients with all types of medical conditions and symptoms. Their team has substantial experience performing a variety of imaging services such as CT scans, PET scans, MRIs, bone density scans, and more. Call (561) 795-5558 to make an appointment today. You can also set up an appointment using our online form.