Is there a difference between an MRI and a PET scan?

There are several ways in which health care professionals can gather images of their patients which they rely heavily on to diagnose a possible disease or disorder and to set a course of treatment. Two commonly used tests are MRI and PET CT in Riverhead NY. From a purely functional point of view, both an MRI and a PET scan do the same thing, they penetrate the body and with the aid of a computer, provide three dimensional images of the structure of the body. The difference between the two is not so much in the results; it is more in the way the images are gathered.

The acronym MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, this method of testing uses very strong magnetic fields which works on the atomic structure of the body. The actual way in which the work is very complex and in most cases beyond the complete understanding of a layman, what is important to know through is that an MRI can show on the image the differences in soft tissue so is of tremendous benefit to the physician when the issue concerns major organs such as the heart and brain and any possible growths there may be.

The PET CT in Riverhead NY differs somewhat from a MRI inasmuch as it uses nuclear imaging rather than magnetic imaging. To conduct a PET scan a small amount of radioactive tracer material is administered to the patient either via ingestion of injection. As the tracer element decays it gives off positively charged particles that are picked up by the equipment. The differences found in the result are displayed in different colors and intensity on the computer generated image.

PET is also an acronym; it stands for Positron Emission Tomography. Having seen the differences in the way they gather information, it is easy to see why they are called what they are, the terms are quite descriptive.

A PET scan is a valuable tool in the arsenal of a physician, it is an extremely important tool in the fight against cancer as cancer cells take up the radioactive tracer faster than healthy cells; this gives the physician a head start on the treatment of the disease.
A PET CT in Riverhead NY is available from North Fork Radiology. A PET CT can provide your physician with diagnostic images second to none.