Common Uses for Positron Emission Tomography (PET)-

Positron Emission Tomography - PET/CT ScanWe at Southwest Diagnostic Center for Molecular Imaging use PET scans to:

  • Provide insight into the body’s organ function
  • Locate cancerous growths
  • Trace, track, and monitor the remission of cancer
  • Checking for metastasization of cancerous tumors

What are some common uses of PET-CT?

Detecting Cancer

PET/CT scans are one of the most advanced ways for physicians to detect cancer, analyze the staging, select treatment options, and to see if the treatment is working or if cancer has spread. The PET/CT scan combines the cross-sectional imaging of the body from the CT scan, and the ability of the PET scan to detect tissue function.

Before a PET/CT scan, the patient receives an injection of radioactive glucose. Cancer cells are highly metabolic and synthesize the glucose quicker than non-cancerous tissue. The PET scan will then display which tissues processed the glucose quicker. That is then combined with the cross-dimensional aspect of the CT scan to get a better view throughout the entire body. This can help detecting if the cancer has spread to other organs.

From this information physicians can plan an effective treatment strategy. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, systemic therapy, or a combination therapy where one or more of these options are combined. As treatment continues, further scans help physicians determine if the therapy is working.

PET/CT scans provide information to help physicians:

  • Locate the site of the cancer
  • Select the proper treatments
  • Determine the size of the tumor
  • Detect recurrent tumors
  • Differentiate benign and malignant tumors
  • See if cancer is spreading to other parts of the body
  • Monitor the success of treatments
  • Differentiate benign and malignant tumors

Heart Evaluations

Physicians use cardiac nuclear medicine studies to help diagnose cardiac disease. The symptoms include:

  • unexplained chest pain.
  • chest pain brought on by exercise (called angina).

Cardiac nuclear medicine imaging is also performed:

  • to visualize blood flow patterns to the heart walls, called a myocardial perfusion scan.
  • to evaluate the presence and extent of suspected or known coronary artery disease.
  • to determine the extent of injury to the heart following a heart attack, or myocardial infarction.
  • to evaluate the results of bypass surgery or other revascularization procedures designed to restore blood supply to the heart.
  • in conjunction with an electrocardiogram (ECG), to evaluate heart-wall movement and overall heart function with a technique called cardiac gating.

Brain Evaluations

A PET scan can show the size, shape, and function of the brain, so your doctor can make sure it is working as well as it should. It is most often used when other tests, such as MRI scan or CT scan, do not provide enough information. Newer PET/CT technology has allowed for emerging tests, such as testing for Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.

This test can be used to:

  • Diagnose cancer
  • Prepare for epilepsy surgery
  • Help diagnose dementia if other tests and exams do not provide enough information
  • Tell the difference between Parkinson disease and other movement disorders

Several PET scans may be taken to determine how well you are responding to treatment for cancer or another illness.

Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an appointment for a PET scan at Southwest Diagnostic Center for Molecular Imaging, call our center at (214) 345-8300 today!

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