Positron emission tomography is related to computed tomography – this is an innovative method of imaging diagnostics which enables a quick, painless and safe examination of the patient’s body. Before the examination the patient is intravenously administered a solution called radiopharmaceutical, most frequently 18F fludeoxyglucose – FDG. The radioactive fluoro isotope contained in this preparation is manifested in a short half-life, making the radiation dose safer for the patient.
The fludeoxyglucose metabolism is identical to that of glucose and much more intensive in cancerous cells than in healthy cells; this enables the location and early identification of the disease, even before the structural lesions are revealed. During an examination of the entire body, a PET scan is simultaneously performed, showing the capture of the marker gathered in the body and computed tomography picturing the body’s anatomical structures. The combination of the two methods (PET-CT) enables a highly accurate assessment of metabolic changes occurring in the cells, as well as the localization and identification of pathology foci.
The PET-CT is mainly used for oncological diseases as well as for cardiologic and neurological conditions. In some cases of neoplasm, it enables a conclusive diagnosis, which would be difficult by means of other imaging methods.
The combination of the PET and CT methods makes it possible to render both anatomical and functional features of an examined organ, enabling the diagnostics of pathology at the cell level, which is significant for the early identification of cancerous lesions. The procedure enables the localisation of the primary focus of some cancers, an assessment of their progression and the likelihood of recurrence of the disease. With some types of cancers it offers the chance to assess the effectiveness of treatment e.g. chemotherapy, due to which a change in the treatment plan is made possible. It also enables the planning of PET controlled radiotherapy. It is important to note that it offers an opportunity for the assessment of slight lesions, which cannot be rendered by means of other radiology techniques.