Beyond Oncology, the Most Popular PET Scan Application


The technology of a PET scan is frequently used to identify the presence of a brain tumor. However, the tool can be used for more than just identifying cancer. It can be used for:

  1. Internal injuries
  2. Bleeding in brain
  3. Infection detection
  4. Structural abnormalities inside the skull

Even though it is a remarkable invention, the tool has limitations, so a pet scan for brain tumors may occasionally be necessary. For a definitive diagnosis in these cases, additional medical tests like X-rays are performed. However, we only focus on scanning technologies for the purposes of this article.

The Two Broad Types of Brain Scans

When loosely categorized there are only two kinds of technologies that can be used to scan the brain:

  1. computed tomography (CT)
  2. magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

There are many different subcategories within these two classes. Which device is used depends on the symptoms the patient experiences and is used to detect and diagnose a particular type of medical problem.

6 Varieties of Brain Imaging Tools

Every method of brain imaging has the same objective: to look for issues that are present in a patient’s brain or to observe its activity. There are currently six techniques that are most frequently used to carry out the process.

  • To create a picture of the brain, CT scan uses X-Ray technology. A sliding table is mounted on a cylindrical apparatus that serves as the actual device. A semicircular x-ray source moves around the patient’s head as they are lying on a table. An enclosed tube houses the source. Using differentiating ray absorption, the image is produced.

    The rate of absorption varies as the beam travels through the brain. Bone is good at it, but air only absorbs a small amount of x-rays, and soft tissue is on the median. Therefore, CT scans are excellent at generating an outline image of the brain but are not suitable for defining its structure.

  • Functional Activity Testing

a) When testing brain activity, functional magnetic resonance imaging is the technique used. The tool works by sensing the alterations in:

  • oxygen level in the blood
  • blood flow when neural activity occurs
  • Since the mind requires more significant amounts of oxygen when it is active, there is a greater blood flow to it.

Because of this, fMRI is ideal for generating activation maps that show the parts of the brain used for various cognitive functions.

b) Positron Emission Tomography is another tool used to monitor brain activity. Radioactive material is utilized in this method. A positron is created as the short-lived substance degrades. This component is recognized by the PET scan brain machine. The brain’s functionality increases with increasing radioactivity.

  • Electrical Activity Testing

a) However, magnetoencephalography is frequently useful in assisting surgeons to localize pathology. It is typically used in clinics and research. Analyses use technology and neurofeedback to determine what role each part of the brain plays. The MEG machine uses a device known as a SQUID that measures the magnetic field produced by electrical movement in the brain to produce an image.

b) Electroencephalography places electrodes on a patient’s scalp and uses them to map the electrical activity of the patient’s brain. The electrical signals generated by the neurons in any brain are essentially traced by EEG. It is a technology that is frequently used because it is non-invasive and extremely sensitive. Even one millisecond of cognitive activity can be selected by the technique. The procedure also produced a high temporal resolution, making it one of the uncommon few., precise measurement with respect to time.

  • Using infrared light with a wavelength between 700 and 900 nm, near-infrared spectroscopy analyzes objects. From one side, light is shone on the brain, and as it emerges from the other, it is measured. The amount of oxygen in the blood defines the attenuation of light, which is a gauge of the level of brain activity. Thus, NIRS is an optical method of brain imaging.

The Necessity of Scanning Techniques

Scanner techniques are useful for other illnesses besides the obvious need to detect cancer. Let’s say a patient has experienced excruciating headaches that come and go for a while. The cause cannot be determined through a physical examination. Pain cannot be cured by medication or other treatments.

One of the technologies described above can be used to perform a brain scan to identify the underlying problem. A doctor could diagnose a headache by using the brain image, which would then help with treating and curing it.

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