Positron emission tomography, also called PET imaging or a PET scan, is a type of nuclear medicine imaging. A PET scan measures important body functions, such as blood flow, oxygen use, and sugar (glucose) metabolism, to help doctors evaluate how well organs and tissues are functioning.
During a PET scan, two medical images are captured with one machine at the same time - a PET image and a CT image. The PET image shows the physician how the body is functioning and reveals areas of abnormal activity. The CT image shows the physician the body's anatomic structure, acting as a map to precisely locate any areas of concern. The images are combined to reveal the complete picture to the physician.
To better understand how a PET scan works, think about a satellite weather map seen on the local news. The map displays weather patterns gathered by satellites that show storm intensities. With one image on top of the other, we can see what areas are being affected by adverse weather.
A radiologist will review your exam images and report the findings to your doctor within 24 hours. Your doctor will then discuss the findings and next steps with you.