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Things You Need To Know About PET Scan

There are questions with regard to PET-Scan. By and large the name of the scan in English is "positron emission tomography”. In nuclear medicine exam often called PET or positron emission tomography. The process of PET scan is pretty much the same as scintigraphy wherein the analyzing the functioning of an organ or a structure of the body is done by using a contrast product injected into the patient. The radiotracer gets activated by coming in contact with the organs and in the presence of an anomaly.

pet-scan

Images of these reactions are captured by a machine and reproduced on a computer screen. The three-dimensional reconstruction makes it possible to visualize the zones of high concentration of the tracer (zones in red). The doctor can identify an abnormality or pathology. As one of the primary advantage, A PET scan allows the obtaining of 3D cuts, which is not the case of scintigraphy. This comes out as a useful method in oncology for detecting or monitoring a tumor.

Why prescribe a tomography?

PET CT scan is mainly prescribed:

  • For the detection of metastases, to know the effectiveness of treatment put in place or to confirm a tumor recurrence when a blood test revealed an increase in tumor markers.
  • In cardiology to study the functioning of the myocardium (for example after a heart attack) or coronary arteries
  • In neurology to confirm the presence of brain damage and degenerative disease such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.

How does a PET scan work?

In terms of the time duration, the PET scan takes about two hours. Intravenous injection of the radioactive substance is the first step. The patient is kept laid down for one hour in a usual basis. It is the standard time required in order to have the contrast material to enter the body and reach the organs to be examined. The patient is then placed for about twenty minutes in a machine equipped with a ring-shaped opening whilst they are still lying on their back. That's when PET images are created. The results cannot be put out or discussed immediately as it takes some time for study and analysis of the image.

Some of the health conditions determined in PET scan are:

  • The presence and nature of tumor lesions, recurrence of the disease or metastasis of cancer at an early stage;
  • The presence of vascular disorders, post-traumatic changes, foci of epilepsy and Parkinsonism in the brain, as well as causes of dementia;
  • The viability of the myocardium (heart muscle) in ischemic heart disease, congenital heart defects.
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