A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is an imaging test that helps reveal how your tissues and organs are functioning. A PET scan uses a radioactive drug (tracer) to show this activity.
The tracer may be injected, swallowed or inhaled, depending on which organ or tissue is being studied by the PET scan. The tracer collects in areas of your body that have higher levels of chemical activity, which often correspond to areas of disease. On a PET scan, these areas show up as bright spots.
A PET scan is useful in revealing or evaluating several conditions, including some cancers, heart disease and brain disorders.
May. 06, 2014
- Javery O, et al. FDG PET or PET/CT in patients with pancreatic cancer: When does it add to diagnostic CT or MRI? Clinical Imaging 37;2013:295.
- Murphy JG, et al., eds. Mayo Clinic Cardiology: Concise Textbook. 4th ed. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press; 2013:130.
- Ziessman HA, et al. Nuclear Medicine: The Requisites. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014.
- Positron emission tomography — Computed tomography (PET/CT). Radiological Society of North America. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=PET. Accessed Dec. 11, 2013.
- About nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. http://www.snmmi.org/AboutSNMMI/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=6433&navItemNumber=756. Accessed Dec. 11, 2013.
- About PET scans. American College of Radiology Imaging Network. http://www.acrin.org/patients/aboutimagingexamsandagents/aboutpetscans.aspx. Accessed Dec. 11, 2013.
- Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 20, 2013.
- AskMayoExpert. Lung cancer surveillance in at-risk patients. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Mitchell CR, et al. Operational characteristics of (11)c-choline positron emission tomography/computerized tomography for prostate cancer with biochemical recurrence after initial treatment. Journal of Urology. 2013;189:1308.
- ACR appropriateness criteria pretreatment staging of colorectal cancer. Rockville, Md.: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=35139. Accessed Dec. 19, 2013.
- FDA approves production of imaging agent that helps detect prostate cancer. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm319201.htm. Accessed Dec. 18, 2013.