Term: Positron Emission Tomography Scanning

Description:
A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a unique type of imaging test that helps doctors sees how the organs and tissues inside your body are actually functioning. A small amount of radioactive material is necessary to show this activity. PET scans can be used to diagnose a health condition, as well as for finding out how an existing condition is developing. A PET scan is useful in evaluating a variety of conditions including neurological problems, heart disease and cancer. Medicare and private insurance companies cover the cost of most PET scans.


Applications:
A PET scan allows physicians to measure the body's abnormal molecular cell activity to detect:
  • Cancers such as breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, lymphonma, melanoma, melanoma, and other skin cancers
    • To assess tumor aggressiveness
    • To monitor success of therapy
    • To detect early any recurrent tumors
    • To provide a whole-body survey for cancer that may have spread
    • To identify benign and malignant growths
    • To help doctors decide on the most appropriate cancer treatment
  • Brain Disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, and Epilepsy
    • To diagnose Alzheimer's and other dementia
    • To determine the location of epileptic seizures prior to surgery
    • To diagnose movement disorders like Parkinson's disease
  • Heart disease
    • To determine what heart tissue is still alive following a suspected heart attack
    • To predict success of angioplasty (balloon) or bypass surgery
    • To determine if coronary arteries are blocked
    • To detect which specific parts of the heart have been damaged


Web Resources:
http://www.petscaninfo.com/zportal/portals/pat/

Related Terminology:
Related tests include:
  • Brain PET scan
  • Breast PET scan
  • Heart PET scan
  • Lung PET scan


Citations/References:
http://www.snm.org/index.cfm?PageID=11123

Graphics:

external image find_center.jpgexternal image PET_-_Human_Addiction.jpg