PET scans and MRI tests are similar in nature. Both require the patient to be moved through a cylinder shaped object while images are being recorded. The pictures provided during the test are read by radiologists. The results are forwarded to a patient’s physician for further consultation. PET scans define the function of abnormal tissues. The MRI offers structural information about the tissue.
Both the positron emission tomography scan (PET scan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are considered body imaging tests. Each is designed to scan different areas, thus provide contrasting results.
A PET scan reveals the condition of the body’s organs and tissues performance. PET scans are able to show if cancer or heart problems exist in the body. Furthermore, the scan can reveal central nervous system issues, such as brain dysfunction or tumors.
MRIs show the size, appearance and form of organs and muscles in the body. The test can uncover tumors and other abnormalities inside the body. They are useful in determining the exact location of an anomaly and tract changes of the same.
PET scans require an injection of a radioactive substance mix into the vein. As a result, the PET scan offers a more definitive picture of what is occurring on a cellular level than that of an MRI.
Both tests may require an injection of substance into the vein--in the case of the PET scan, radioactive, and MRI, nonradioactive. This will be determined by your health care provider.