PET Overview

What is Positron Emission Tomography?

Positron emission tomography, also called PET imaging or a PET scan (PET stands for: Positron Emission Tomography)Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a diagnostic imaging technique, which provides prompt, safe and reliable examination to diagnose cancer, cardiac perfusion problems (coronary artery blockage, Ischemia), brain perfusion problems (Alzheimer, Dementia).


  • Tumor staging and initial diagnosis of breast cancer, head and neck tumours, sarcoma of soft tissue and bones, and ovarian cancer.
  • Diagnosis of suspected tumor recurrence.
  • Evaluation of response to therapy.


FDG is utilized in the cardiovascular evaluation of myocardial viability by metabolic imaging.


The most commonly performed Positron Emission Imaging study of the brain is a study of glucose metabolism using the radiopharmaceutical F-18 Flurodeoxyglucose (FDG). Indications include

  • Differentiation of recurrent tumor from post-therapy changes.
  • Localization of seizure focus in partial complex epilepsy.
  • Differential diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and fronto-temporal dementia.
  • Eliminates need for other neurosurgical procedures that would otherwise be necessary to determine tumor recurrence of foci localization.

What are the benefits?

  • The information provided by nuclear medicine examinations is unique and often unattainable using other imaging procedures.
  • For many diseases, nuclear medicine scans yield the most useful information needed to make a diagnosis or to determine appropriate treatment, if any.
  • Nuclear medicine is less expensive and may yield more precise information than exploratory surgery.
  • By identifying changes in the body at the cellular level, PET imaging may detect the early onset of disease before it is evident on other imaging tests such as CT or MRI.
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