PET is an imaging technology that studies the body’s biological functions by measuring energy emitted by a radioactive substance injected prior to the procedure. PET is unique because it produces images of the body’s basic biochemistry or function. Traditional diagnostic techniques, such as x-rays, CT scans or MRI, produce images of the body’s anatomy or structure. PET is an imaging technique that is used to visualize some of these metabolic alterations. Even in early disease where there is no gross structural abnormality visible on CT or MRI, the PET scan may be able to show a biochemical change.
A PET scan is a simple procedure. It involves the use of a small amount of a radioactive material, similar to what is used in other nuclear medicine procedures.