Nuclear medicine refers to a category of diagnostic imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive substances to obtain images of various functions inside the body to diagnose or determine the severity of cancer, heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurological and other conditions or abnormalities. Common nuclear medicine tests include bone scans (including SPECT), biliary scans, cardiac MUGAs and thyroid imaging.
PET (and PET/CT) refers to Positron Emission Tomography which is performed either on its own or in combination with a CT scan. PET is a type of nuclear medicine exam that produces a three-dimensional image of functional process of the body. It is safe and painless, and the diagnostic images produced by PET are used to evaluate a variety of diseases.
Some medical centers offer PET that is integrated with a CT scanner. This combination enables the simultaneous evaluation of both anatomy and physiology of the body, helping to more accurately identify cancer, heart disease and brain disorders than previous generations of PET-only scanners.
Nuclear Medicine FAQs