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Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scan)

A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a simple and non-invasive diagnostic imaging procedure that takes pictures and measures metabolic activity of cells inside the body. It provides information about how organ systems function and how well a patient’s treatment is working.
 
A PET scan is especially useful in the diagnosis and management of certain types of cancer, neurological disorders and heart disease. 
 
The most common type of PET scan uses a small amount of radioactive sugar called fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) to help detect certain diseases earlier. Patients are injected with FDG in their arm or hand with a small needle before the exam takes place. Other types of radioactive materials can be used to evaluate other illnesses.
 
Eastern Health operates a PET/computed tomography (CT) scanner in its Nuclear and Molecular Medicine facility. PET/CT imaging combines two tests into one and provides a unique representation of what is happening in the body. 
 
The CT portion of the exam provides structural information about human anatomy by taking pictures in the form of X-rays of bones and other parts of the body. By combining PET and CT pictures, a radiologist can get a better sense of what is happening inside the body. Together, the two scans have been shown to provide more accurate diagnoses than the two scans performed separately.
 
 

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Updated Sep 11, 2017