PET scanner

Photograph of a PET scanner.

Photo courtesy of Siemens Medical Solutions. All rights reserved.

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a test that uses a special type of camera and a tracer (radioactive chemical) to look at organs in the body.

During the test, the tracer liquid is put into a vein in your arm. The tracer moves through your body, where much of it collects in the specific organ or tissues. The tracer gives off tiny positively charged particles (positrons). The camera records the positrons and turns the recording into pictures on a computer.

A PET scan may be used to look for cancer, check blood flow, or determine how well organs are working.

Last Updated: August 18, 2009

Author: Maria Essig

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Howard Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology

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