Positron Emission Tomography, also called a PET scan, is an imaging technique that examines the metabolic function of cells. It can be used for diagnosing and tracking the progress of a disease or condition.
During a positron emission tomography scan, a radioactive substance called a tracer is given intravenously. Some types of cells — such as cancer cells — may metabolize this substance faster than the surrounding healthy cells. Other conditions may metabolize the tracers slower than healthy tissue. Using advanced imaging technology, the PET scan shows the areas of abnormal metabolism to help pinpoint where a disease is originating in the body and how it is progressing.
PET scans can be used to help physicians diagnose conditions such as:
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Breast cancer with positron emission mammography (PEM)
Your PET scan will be combined with a CT scan, which can assist with early diagnosis, disease staging and localization, surgery and treatment planning.
PET scans are offered in combination with CT scans at the following Scripps Health locations:
- Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine
- Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla Outpatient Imaging Pavilion