Positron Emission Tomography, Its Uses, Working, The Advantages and Disadvantages

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PET Scans?

A PET scan uses to create a 3D image of the inside of the body. They can be combined with CT and MRI scans to create a clearer image to show what is going on. For checking how well a specific part of the body is working we use pet scan. They can also be focused on parts of the body. 

What do they produce images of?

  • PET Scans are used to detect the progress of cancer.
  • PET Scans can be used to get high resolution images of the brain.

What are some common uses?

  • PET scans are commonly used in people who have already been diagnosed with cancer, as they can clearly show how far a cancer has spread or respond to treatments such as chemotherapy.
  • They are also used in the planning of brain or heart surgery.
  • Dementia can also be diagnosed with the help of a PET scan, as it can show if the brain’s normal function is changed.

How does it work?

  • A radiotracer, such as fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), is injected into arm, and this gives off radiation.
  • The PET scanner can detect these radiations when it collects in certain parts of your body.
  • If there is an area where the FDG is not reached, then there is a certain body function which isn’t working there.
  • Cancerous cells use more glucose than normal cells, and therefore by checking the FDG concentration, cancer can be identified and tracked in the body.
  • The scan takes about 30 minutes.

What are any advantages and disadvantages?


  • The radiotracer use in pet scan is fluorodeoxyglucose is similar to glucose, so the body treats it in a similar way.
  • The scan only takes about 30 minutes.
  • The PET scan can talk about cell level metabolic changes occurring in an organ or tissue, which a CT or MRI cannot.


  • The PET scan exposes you to radiation, which may lead to cancer. However, the amount is quite small.
  • The half-life of radioactive tracer is short.
  • Pregnant women should avoid people who exposed to radiation, for a few hours after the scan.
Sajid Saleem

Sajid Saleem

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