PET/CT Scanning is the marriage between two completely different types of imaging processes to produce an entirely new way to evaluate the human body for cancer.
The "PET" portion of the scan stands for "Positron Emission Tomography".
The "CT" portion of the scan stands for "Computerized Tomography".
Once both types of images are obtained, they are merged together creating a unique road map of the body.
"PET" involves the injection of a radioactive substance attached to a sugar molecule. This sugar molecule is consumed by the body's cells in it's organs.
The concentration of the radioactive substance in any organ depends upon the metabolic rate of that organ.
Organs like the brain and heart, which require larger amounts of energy, in the form of sugar, subsequently concentrate larger amounts of the radioactive substance.
The "PET" scan machine then looks for where the body has concentrated the radioactive substance in order to create a picture.
Interestingly enough, cancer cells also require large amounts of sugar and therefore concentrate large amounts of the radioactive substance.
This is why PET scanning alone is often referred to as a "cancer screening" test.
The "CT" portion of the study uses X-Rays to create a series of highly detailed, sliced pictures of the body's organs.
The "magic", that results from combining both PET and CT together into one series of pictures, is the creation of a picture of the body showing the body's organs and the actual metabolic state, or functioning, of those organs.
PET PET/CT CT
This information then allows a trained professional physician, your Radiologist, to create a report for you and your doctor that describes the normal and abnormal aspects of the scan.
At Citrus Diagnostic Center, our "Discovery" GE PET/CT scanner, with 16 slice CT scan capability, offers this futuristic imaging tool for you and your doctor to help in the detection of many forms of cancer and it's exact location in your body. This allows your doctor to make an accurate, appropriate plan for your treatment.