Posts Tagged ‘what is a PET scan’

What Is a PET Scan?

PET ScanPeninsula Radiology offers multiple diagnostic tests that are intended to diagnose diseases that are hidden from the naked eye.  While many people know the names of the different types of tests and scans, most do not know what the scans are intended to do.  One of the types of tests that is commonly performed at Peninsula Radiological Associates is a PET scan.

What is a PET scan?

A positron emission tomography, more commonly known as PET, is a type of procedure used to scan for possible diseases inside of your body. It uses gamma rays given off by a tracer to make a 3D image of the interior of your body possible. The way this works is that you are given the tracer, which is swallowed or injected, and it gives off low levels of radiation that the machine can pick up on, allowing it to map the inside of your body. It is a painless procedure, and has few risks associated with it. At the longest, the radiotracer will be out of your system within a day.

Why get a PET scan?

It’s an easy procedure that can detect and measure numerous things about the body, with the most important and often the most relevant being your oxygen use and blood flow. The scan is simple and non-invasive.

Why a PET scan over something else?

A lot of very dangerous diseases can be detected earlier with the aid of a PET scan, from cancer to brain disorders. The test can give you early warning for life-threatening diseases.  It can also detect the stages of heart disease, and can prevent stroke and heart attacks if the disease is found early.

In short, a PET scan is a relatively easy test to perform that can help to diagnose life threatening health situations. If your doctor recommends it, then it is a procedure that could very well save your life.

If you have been advised or referred for a PET scan, contact our office for an appointment with one of our radiology professionals.  Our team of providers has the experience and skill to provide outstanding health services in a compassionate, caring environment.

 

PET Scan vs. CT Scan: What’s the Difference?

PET Scan vs. CT Scan: What's the Difference?Your doctor decides to order a test to rule out certain brain disorders in light of your all-too-frequent severe headaches. Which test is he more likely to order, a PET scan or a CT scan? Making sense of current technology can be confusing, given how many different ways radiologists can look inside the human body to detect problems and monitor existing conditions and treatments.

PET Scan

A PET (positron emission tomography) scan is an imaging test that uses radiation to allow a doctor of radiology to check for diseases in your body. A PET scan produces 3-D colored images and involves the use of a special dye containing radioactive tracers. When these tracers are highlighted under a PET scanner, they allow the radiologist to not only see your organs and tissues, but also to see how well they are functioning. A PET scan can measure vital processes such as blood flow, how efficiently your body is using glucose, oxygen use, and more.

PET scans are most commonly used to detect conditions and disease processes including:

  • cancer

  • heart problems

  • brain disorders

  • CNS (central nervous system) problems

  • epilepsy

PET scans are also used to monitor how a condition is progressing or how effective the ongoing treatment of a condition is. Unlike a CT scan, a PET scan shows problems at the cellular level. PET scans are often used along with CT scans, X-rays or MRI scans to obtain not only an image, but also a clear idea of how tissue and organs are functioning in real time.

CT Scan

The “CT” in CT scan stands for computed tomography. It uses special X-ray equipment to help detect a variety of conditions and diseases by producing multiple cross-sectional pictures of the inside of the body. These images can then be reformatted in several planes, even to the point of creating a three-dimensional image of a part of the body. The radiologist can view these images on a computer monitor and transfer them to film, a CD or a DVD. The images produced by a CT scan provide greater detail than the images produced by standard X-rays.

Because these images are produced so quickly, CT scans are often used in emergency situations when a fast diagnosis can literally save a life. They’re often used to look inside the chest, abdomen and pelvis because they provide detailed, cross-sectional views of all types of tissue. In addition to being the test of choice for emergencies, CT scans are also routinely used for diagnosis of:

  • tumors

  • vascular diseases and aneurysms (both pulmonary and aortic)

  • spinal problems

  • skeletal problems (showing even very small bones and surrounding tissue and muscles)

A CT scan is also a helpful tool for:

  • guiding biopsies

  • planning for surgery

  • planning and guiding radiation treatments

  • monitoring a patient’s response to chemotherapy

In some CT scans, a contrast dye is used to enhance visibility of the part of the body being examined.

If you would like to request a PET scan or a CT scan, please contact us at Peninsula Radiology Associates at (757) 989-8830. We have served the Virginia Peninsula for more than 50 years with a well-earned reputation for state-of-the-art equipment, expertise and compassion.