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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.


Updated Sep 11, 2017