PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography. It is a diagnostic imaging test that uses a small amount of radioactive material and a special camera to create images of the body's internal organs and tissues at the cellular level.
During a PET scan, the person is given a small amount of a radioactive tracer, which is usually injected into a vein. The tracer emits positrons, which interact with electrons in the body to produce gamma rays. The gamma rays are detected by a special camera, which creates detailed, 3D images of the inside of the body.
PET scans are commonly used to diagnose and monitor various conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders. They can also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of certain medical treatments.
PET scans involve exposure to ionizing radiation, but the amount of radiation used in a typical PET scan is considered safe. However, PET scans are not recommended for pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions, such as kidney disease.
Interpreting a PET scan requires specialized training and expertise. A radiologist or other healthcare provider who is trained in reading imaging studies typically reviews the PET scan results and makes a diagnosis based on the images.