• synonyms

PET scan

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  1. an image obtained by positron emission tomography, using a PET scanner.
  2. an examination performed with a PET scanner.

Origin of PET scan

P(ositron) E(mission) T(omography)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
pet scan in Medicine

PET scan

  1. A cross-sectional image produced by a PET scanner.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

pet scan in Science

PET scan

  1. Short for positron emission tomography scan. A cross-sectional image of a metabolic process in a human or animal body produced by positron emission tomography.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

pet scan in Culture

PET scan

Acronym for positron emission tomography, a medical test that is especially useful in showing how tissue or an organ is functioning, as opposed to just showing structure. In a PET scan, radioactive atoms are introduced into the body, where their chemical behavior is exactly the same as similar nonradioactive atoms. The positrons emitted when these nuclei decay collide with electrons in surrounding tissue, producing gamma rays that can then be detected by instruments outside the body.


A PET scan can show the blood flow through the brain, areas of high metabolic activity that indicate potential tumors, as well as areas of damaged heart tissue.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.