Neurological applications of PET scans
Early medical applications of PET scan technology were almost exclusively for the brain. By measuring low-level radioactive isotopes injected into the bloodstream, brain PET scans were able to reveal tumors and diseased tissue in the brain, as well as show the speed of blood flow, and cellular and/or tissue metabolism.
PET scan imaging is widely used to evaluate patients who have seizure disorders (such as epilepsy) that do not respond to medical treatment. It is also used on patients with certain memory orders. Likewise, infection imaging detects site of focal infection for immunocompromised patients.
PET scans are also useful for evaluating vascular graft infection and identifying unknown origin of pyrexia if conventional investigations have not revealed a source.
How Brain PET scans work
To perform a PET scan for the brain, a specially trained nuclear medicine technologist injects a low-level radioactive isotope into the bloodstream of the patient. These isotopes bind to chemicals that flow to the brain, and they may then be traced as the brain performs its functions. A computer processes the scanned information and displays it on a video monitor or records it on film.
A physician may order a PET scan for a patient as a follow-up to CT or MRI scan so that he or she can better understand specific areas of the brain that may relate to the neurological condition that he or she is trying to diagnose.
PET scans for the brain are performed at highly sophisticated outpatient imaging centers such as Glendale MRI Institute.
Neurologic Applications of Positron Emission Tomography, AJNR.org