A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is an imaging test that helps reveal how your tissues and organs are functioning. A PET scan uses a radioactive drug (tracer) to show this activity.
The tracer may be injected, swallowed or inhaled, depending on which organ or tissue is being studied by the PET scan. The tracer collects in areas of your body that have higher levels of chemical activity, which often correspond to areas of disease. On a PET scan, these areas show up as bright spots.
A PET scan is useful in revealing or evaluating several conditions, including some cancers, heart disease and brain disorders.