Whereas doctors decades ago had to open the body up to physically see some conditions and diagnose them, physicians of today have a number of less invasive tools at their disposal. When there’s a need to “see” inside and a desire to avoid surgery, PET and CT scans can give doctors the information they need to make accurate diagnoses and help treat diseases.
Both PET and CT scans provide doctors with a tremendous amount of information in a very non-invasive way. While they can be a little time consuming to undergo, they are performed outpatient and offer results relatively quickly.
Here’s a look at both:
A CT scan is a computerized tomography scan. This involves using advanced technology to take images of the body from different angles. Unlike a standard X-ray, CT scans provide cross-section images of the body. This means doctors can more closely examine specific locations. The CT scan is especially helpful for revealing internal bleeding, helping pinpoint the location of a tumor or assisting a doctor in discovering if internal injuries are present. As a result, doctors commonly order CTs after traumatic events, such as auto accidents.
The PET scan is similar, but it provides a different sort of look inside the body. Also known as positron emission tomography, this technique uses a tracer dye to help technicians take images that reveal the body’s inner workings. It is used to help diagnose and stage cancer, detect brain tumors, diagnose heart disease, and more. While an injection is required, there is really no pain associated with this procedure that can help doctors truly “see” inside without having to perform surgery.
CT and PET scans have helped advance modern medicine by making it easier for doctors to do their jobs without causing patients undo discomfort. By delivering clear insights into the body’s working and the presence of many types of disease, these two test can help save lives.