Home > Wellness > Health Library > PET scan
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a test that uses a special type of camera and a tracer (radioactive substance) to look at organs in the body.
During a PET scan, the tracer is typically injected into a vein (usually in the arm), but sometimes it may be inhaled. The tracer usually is a special form of a substance (such as glucose) that can be used (metabolized) by cells in the body.
A PET scan is often used to evaluate cancer, such as of the lung or colon. It also can be used to evaluate the heart's metabolism and blood flow and examine brain function.
PET scan pictures do not show as much detail as computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Current as of: September 23, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Howard Schaff MD - Diagnostic Radiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
270 Pine Mountain Road
Hudson, NC 28638
8439 Valley Blvd.
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
160 River Bend Drive
Granite Falls, NC 28630