If your doctor has recommended you take an imaging test to help diagnose a health condition, you may be wondering which type of imaging test you need. Two very common forms of imaging scans are CT and PET scans. These imaging scans have distinct differences and are used for different diagnostic purposes.
Let’s take a look at what CT and PET scans are and what they’re used for.
Computed tomography or CT scan uses X-ray technology to create highly-detailed images of what’s inside the body. There is a small amount of radiation involved when conducting a CT scan as well as a contrasting material to highlight areas of your body. The contrast material may be administered orally or intravenously.
Your doctor may order a CT scan after a traumatic injury or to diagnose illness. Some of the conditions that CT scans can detect are:
- Muscle and bone fractures
- Blood clot
- Cancer tumors
- Detect heart disease
- Lung nodules
- Liver masses
- Internal injuries
- Internal bleeding
CT scans are also used to guide surgeries and radiation therapy as well as to monitor the effectiveness of treatments and the progression of diseases.
A CT scan is quick, painless, and can take as little as five minutes to complete. Another benefit of CT scans is that it is less expensive than other imaging tests.
Positron emission tomography or PET scans make use of molecular imaging to detect illnesses and monitor their progression. Unlike CT scans, PET scans detect diseases on the molecular level. Similar to CT scans, PET scans involve a small about of radiation that is injected into the bloodstream. Radiographers and doctors then analyze 3D images of your body.
PET scans can detect:
- Early-stage cancers
- Heart disorders and conditions
- Heart damage
- Brain disorders
- Central nervous system disorders
- Organs not functioning properly
- Blood sugar, blood flow, and oxygen use
- Metabolism rate
Unlike CT scans which take about 5 minutes to complete, PET scans can take anywhere between 2 to 4 hours to complete and are more expensive than CT scans.
While both scans are effective and useful, the one you need will depend on the specific condition or symptoms you have. Your doctor will give you a physical exam and evaluate your symptoms and medical history to determine which of these scans is best suited for you.
CT and PET Scans in Palm Beach County, Florida
For over 30 years, we have provided highly-advanced imaging services. We put our patients first and see to it that your experience is a positive and relaxing one. For your imaging scan needs, we have diagnostic imaging centers in Belle Glade, Wellington, Lake Worth, and Royal Palm Beach.
Please call (561) 795-5558 to schedule an appointment or use our secure online form. We look forward to serving you!