In general, CT (Computer Tomography) scanning and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanning do the same thing. Only the imaging techniques differ. For a PET scan, nuclear medicine imaging is used in order to generate a 3-dimensional image of the processes inside the body. In short, a PET scan is for metabolic information while a CT scan is for anatomic information.
In terms of the cost, a PET scan is more expensive. It is twice or three times the price of a CT scan depending on the part of the body being scanned and the place where you decide to have the procedure done. If you opt for a private PET scan in London, it might be more expensive, but it is worth the price.
The time though could be drastically different. A CT scan takes 5-30 minutes only while a PET scan would require at least 2 hours. The exposure to radiation is low for a CT scan while it is slightly higher for a PET scan. This is also due to the number of hours it takes to finish the procedure.
For imaging, a CT scan uses X-rays. It is a technology that has been around for a long time. A PET scan, on the other hand, uses positron-emitting radioactive tracers. The system tracks these and creates a 3D image. Since a PET scan is deeper and more profound, you can expect the results to also be clearer. For a CT scan, you can see the bone outlines clearly. A PET scan delves deeper into the biological processes in the body.
Advantages of PET and CT Scans
You will undergo a CT scan if the goal is to view anatomical structures. Given the high contrast resolution in CT scanning, tissue differences are more visible. The data may also be viewed using different planes. As such, its diagnostic ability increases. A PET scan is better if your goal is to determine how the biological processes of the body work. The imaging goes down to a cellular level. If you want to detect serious illnesses like cancer, a PET scan has the ability to detect it before a CT scan can.
Although both scans use different techniques, they may overlap in terms of functions. Obviously, PET scans are more advanced.
The key is for you to wait for your doctor to tell you what to do. Besides, both techniques require a physician’s prescription. The results are also for the doctor to accurately diagnose you and decide whether or not you have to undergo surgery. They are also useful especially for emergency purposes. There are instances when organs bleed internally and doctors have no idea how to deal with the affected area. Hence, they require scanning. Once the results are obtained, you will be notified. The results are also explained to you by your doctor.