What is positron emission tomography (PET)?
A positron emission tomography scan or “PET Scan” is a type
of diagnostic imaging. Doctors often recommend PET scans to get a detailed
view of organs and tissue inside a patient’s body. PET scans use
a chemical called “radiotracer” which is radioactive, but
only a small dose is used in the imaging process. The organs and tissue
absorb the radiotracer so that when the patient is scanned, the PET can
detect any records of energy given off by the substance. Energy emitted
from the radiotracer chemical is used to produce three-dimensional imaging
so that the doctor can accurately diagnose the problem.
What can PET scans measure?
PET scans are used to measure things like:
- Blood flow
- Oxygen use
- Glucose metabolism
The scan should yield information about any abnormalities in these vital
functions. Doctors might also use PET scans to measure the effectiveness
of a treatment, such as
How are PET scans different from other imaging devices?
PET scans are one option among many, such as
CT scans and MRI scans, for diagnostic imaging. PET scans are different than other
types of imaging devices in that they can reveal changes at the cellular
level. This is both important and unique in that diseases, such as cancer,
begin with changes at the cellular level. This means that PET scans can
help detect diseases during their earliest stages. CT scans, on the other
hand, wouldn’t be able to detect a disease until that disease is
severe enough to change the structure of organs and tissue. PET scans
are not recommended for people who are pregnant or think they might be
pregnant, due to radiation exposure.
How fast can PET scans determine a diagnosis?
After the PET imaging is complete, your doctor should be able to get the
images back and interpret them within two to three days.
Worthington & Caron, PC provides a variety of benefits to the patients
they represent, not least among those is access to the nation’s
leading mesothelioma physicians who can recommend appropriate diagnostic
testing, like PET scans in many cases.
To learn more about how our firm might be able to help you,
call us today.