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A Quick Look at PET Scan Technology

Positron emission tomography (PET) scanners are based on incredibly complex technology. Before you head over to the radiology center near San Antonio for your PET brain scan, take a few minutes to watch this featured video. It explains that the nuclear medicine technologist will inject a specially prepared, radioactive tracer material into your bloodstream before the test. Then, your exam table will slide into the PET scanner.

This video explains that the radioactive atoms inside the tracer give off positrons, which are subatomic particles. When a positron strikes an electron, the particles destroy each other and release energy as gamma rays that travel in opposite directions out of the patient. The PET scanner detects the gamma rays and calculates the exact position of the tracer. The results allow the radiologist to examine a precise, 3D image of the bodily structure.