Positron Emission Tomography majorly know as PET scans are a relatively new forms of medical imaging that begun to be used in clinical settings around 1990s. A diagnostic PET scan is used by physicians to see the biochemical changes occurring within a patient while a metabolic PET scan is used to diagnose, stage and follow-up on the treatments administered. Diseases and illnesses often affect a patient’s biochemistry and these changes can only be detected by conducting PET scans. And just like other forms of medical imaging, a PET scan comes with its pros and cons. They include the following.
The Pros of Pet Scans
1. Since it can study bodily functions through biochemical processes, the scans are able to detect diseases before the symptoms and signs show hence they are more effective compared to the other imaging tests.
2. Since it studies metabolic functions of a patient, PET imaging can be used as an alternative to biopsy and also other exploratory surgeries conducted to determine how far a disease has spread.
3. Its ability to differentiate between non-cancerous and cancerous tumors, PET scans are the most precise medical tools to help minimize the number of unnecessary surgeries done because of wrong staging data and diagnosis.
4. PET scans are effective for diagnosing early stages of certain neurological illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and other mental illnesses.
5. PET scans are the best options for those people scared of getting infection from medical procedures.
6. As compared to other forms of CT scans, PET scans are a bit safer as the radiation dosage one is exposed to is relatively low.
The Cons of Pet Scans
Regardless of its numerous advantages, PET scans also has its disadvantages.
1. Even though the radioactive elements used in these scans are short lived it might cause some complications especially to pregnant patients.
2. Even though the radioactive components used in the scans are not long lasting it is still exposure to radioactive rays which is not good and which also means there is only a number of times one can undergo PET imaging.
3. Since it is a new procedure, it is quiet expensive compared to other forms of medical imaging. They also require a cyclotron which is an expensive machine used to create radioisotopes that are used to produce the radioactive rays required for imaging and thus is a very expensive treatment to come by.
Also another problem with PET imaging is that the sensitivity of this diagnostic tool is too high. In case a patient was suffering from chemical imbalance for instance those who are diabetic or just ate something before undergoing the procedure, the likelihood of PET imaging false results is high.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.