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Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan

PET Scans

A Positron Emission Tomography scan, also known as a PET scan, is noninvasive and painless. Along with providing better imaging data, PET scans increase your comfort and convenience by reducing the number of scanning sessions you must undergo.

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What is a PET scan?

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a diagnostic, imaging procedure that provides physicians with information about your body's chemistry, cell function and disease location—information not seen through computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-ray, blood test or physical examination. Unlike CT or MRI, which look at anatomy or body structure, PET scans study body function or the biology of diseases.

Why it's done

PET scans are used by doctors in the fields of oncology, cardiology, neurology and psychiatry to show various disease states, including:

  • helping your oncologist tell if a tumor is cancerous
  • enabling your cardiologist to screen for heart disease and evaluate damage from heart attacks
  • detecting the early signs of neurological diseases

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Source: Allina Health Medical Imaging
Reviewed by: Allina Health Medical Imaging

First published: 8/12/2019
Last reviewed: 8/12/2019