Nuclear medicine is a branch of Radiology that uses radioactive material for the diagnosis and treatment of several conditions.
The nuclear medicine physician will select the tracer that will provide the most specific and reliable information for a patient’s particular problem. The tracer that is used determines whether the patient receives a SPECT or PET scan.
SPECT imaging instruments provide three-dimensional (tomographic) images of the distribution of radioactive tracer molecules that have been introduced into the patient’s body.
PET scans also use radiopharmaceuticals to create three-dimensional images. The main difference between SPECT and PET scans is the type of radiotracers used.
The major purpose of PET scans is to detect cancer and monitor its progression, response to treatment, and to detect metastases.