We’ve talked a lot about CT and MRI. You’re familiar with ultrasounds, with x-rays, and other basic medical imaging procedures. This week we want to bring a little attention to our dark horse, one of the services we’re very proud to offer here at Rosetta but that has been under wraps for quite some time now.
Last year we added a PET-CT machine to our artillery of medical imaging equipment. It was delivered to the building by a crane, was welcomed with open arms, and then put immediately to use to improve the lives of our patients. And although we were super excited about the addition to our center, we realized that most people who don’t work in radiology have absolutely no idea what a PET-CT scan is, or that it even exists in the first place!
We’re here to put an end to that.
PET is formally called Positron Emission Tomography, and it’s a type of nuclear medicine imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to identify a variety of diseases including cancer, heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurological disorders and other abnormalities in the body.
Nuclear medicine procedures like PET are important because they can be used to pinpoint molecular activity within the body, and allow doctors to identify diseases in their earliest stages. PET scans measure body functions like oxygen use, sugar metabolism, and blood flow to help doctors evaluate whether or not organs and tissues are functioning at the appropriate level.
Just like with our machine, most PET scans today are performed on combined PET and CT scanners. While PET is useful for measuring body functions, CT is crucial at producing actual images of inside the body. So when you combine the PET-CT scans, you’re able to get images that can help pinpoint the anatomic locations of abnormal metabolic activity in the body. It adds a visual element to the whole PET process.
It can be kind of confusing to wrap your head around, but if you have any questions then our staff is always more than happy to answer them. Later we’ll talk about specific uses for a PET-CT scan, how to prepare for one, benefits and risks of a PET-CT scan, and the ins and outs of the actual procedure itself. If you want to read up a bit more on PET-CT, RadiologyInfo.com is a great resource!