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Difference Between CT and PET SCAN

cat-scanCT vs PET SCAN

Computed tomography and Positron Emission tomography are both nuclear medicine scans used to detect abnormalities in the different organs of the body. It is an imaging procedure that helps determine appropriate diagnosis and decide necessary treatment for the impending disease. It is commonly used to detect cell abnormalities such as cancer, brain’s unusual functioning, and regions or functions of the heart. Both procedures are comfortable and convenient for patients because it can be done in a single sitting without changing the positions. Furthermore, it is more detailed and accurate leaving no space for miscalculations than any invasive exploratory operations.

Though both are scanners, each has its own distinction from the other.
How CT scan differs from PET scan? Which is better and more economical to use? The benefits and risks involved using both procedures will help the patient make wiser decisions of choosing the more advantageous one.

Computerized axial tomography or popularly called CT scan or CAT scan is a computer generated x-ray that allows viewing of the internal body part. It produce cross-section and three dimension imaging of the structures of the body. Not only that it can detect abnormal organs but it can also identify the operation or function of normal body organs. It is also used to direct an instrument inserted inside the body into its precise position or location.

Positron Emission tomography or commonly called PET scan is an imaging test that utilizes a specifically designed camera to view the internal organs of the body. It is done by injecting a radioactive tracer intravenously through the arm. Tracer is a chemical in liquid form that emits positrons that can be identified and modified into a picture to find the problematic organs. PET scan is effectively used in tracing cancer, brain disorders and heart functions. It is also use to determine metabolism of glucose, use of oxygen, and flow of blood throughout the body.

The advantage of PET scan over CT scan is that it can expose the metabolic changes at the cellular level of the body. It can detect developing diseases at an early stage unlike in CT scan, which detection can be a little bit late. However, the picture presented by PET scanning is not as detailed as CT scan due to the fact that the picture in PET scan only exhibits the area where the tracer is positioned.


1. PET scan uses a radioactive tracer that emits positron that can be modified to view organs that has problems while CT scan is a computer generated x-ray that can detect normal and abnormal organs of the body.

2. PET has advantage over CT scan because it can show metabolic changes at cellular level important for early disease detection.

3. CT scan is more detailed than PET because PET can only exhibit the areas where the tracer is located.

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  1. Petcity

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