Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scan)
Understanding PET Imaging
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is an increasingly important imaging technique that helps doctors to diagnose end-stage cancer and gain unique, valuable information about heart disease and brain disorders. PET also plays a major role in research at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, particularly in solving the mysteries of Alzheimer's disease.
How PET is Differs from other tests
The PET scanner is very different from such diagnostic imaging procedures as computerized axial tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound and X-ray, which show the physical structure of bones, organs and tissues inside the body. PET can display where certain chemical processes are taking place and therefore show the various organs at work in the body.
Information obtained from PET procedures is important to physicians because the detailed pictures can tell them if organs and tissues are diseased or healthy. PET is the only technology available that can provide this valuable information.
Cancer specialists now routinely use PET technology to more accurately determine the location, extent and growth rate of malignant tumors (particularly brain tumors). PET helps heart specialists identify appropriate patients for interventional cardiology procedures, such as coronary bypass surgery or a balloon angioplasty. Neurosurgeons often rely on PET to help "map" a complex brain surgery.
This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Only your doctor can diagnose and treat a medical problem.