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What is pet scan?

What is PET scan?

The title of this post and probably the subsequent post may be misleading in title, but this is INTENTIONAL. People normally get confused about the meaning of PET scan because of the word ‘pet’ in it. It is for this reason that I decided to enlighten people about what PET scan really means and surprisingly it has absolutely nothing to do with pets! It is however a good idea to know what people mean when they talk about PET scan.

Technological advancement has cut across all areas including medical field. Medical profession is very easy and experts can now carry out different procedures due to the availability of different equipments. The equipment that is becoming very popular in the medical field is PET scan.

Positron emission tomography (PET) scan is used for producing detail 3 dimension’s images of the internal part of the body. It is a nuclear medicine imaging designed to create images of the body function and metabolism. The essence of using PET scan is to check the biological functionality of cells and organs in the body.

The images taken by PET scan indicate how the part of the body that is being investigated is functioning. With this, medical experts can easily tell if there is any area that isn’t functioning well and the likely cause of such default.

When more detailed images about the inner body function are required, experts will recommend that Pet scans should be combined with CT scan to get a more convincing result. This is known as PET-CT scan.

The PET scanners itself is made up of detectors arranged in a circular form. These detectors are tasked to pick up the pattern of radioactivity from the body’s radiopharmaceutical during the scanning process. After which a computer analyses the entire pattern and come up with a three dimensional colored image of the area being scanned. The degree of brightness as well as color in the PET image indicates how well the tissues and organs in your body perform.

PET scanners are very expensive to buy and operate; this is why they are not common like most other machines used in the medical field.

Why is a PET scan done?

There are several reasons why Positron emission tomography (PET) scan is carried out on people. Some of these reasons are;

  • Diagnose Cancer: Positron emission tomography scan is recommended for patient to as to diagnose certain types of cancer. Though this is not applicable in all cancers situation, but for certain cases that need thorough medical investigation of the inside body.
  • Determine the stage: PET scan can also be used to investigate how far cancer has spread and the extent to which it has affected other organs or tissues. PET scan is recommended when other imaging tests are unclear and inconclusive.
  • Check the efficiency of Cancer treatment: PET scan can also be used to ascertain how effective a cancer treatment is and if there is positive result in the entire process.
  • Recurrence of Cancer: PET scan can also be used to ascertain if cancer has reoccurred or spread to other location of the body. This procedure will show a full image of the cancerous cell and the degree to which it has spread to other location within the body.
  • Nervous system and cardiovascular disease: PET scan can also be used to diagnose the nervous system and cardiovascular disease. It will unveil if there is anything wrong with the nervous system and if there is any cardiovascular threat to the body.
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