A positron emission tomography, or "PET", scan examines your body's chemistry. Most common medical tests, like computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, only show details about the structure of the body. PET is different in that it also provides information about function.
PET scans look at the metabolic activity of the brain and allow physicians to determine if the brain is functioning normally. In patients with epilepsy, decreased brain function is seen in the region where seizures originate, when the patient is not actually having a seizure. On the other hand, if the patient has a seizure during the test, increased brain function is seen. PET scans may show abnormalities even if the brain MRI is normal. PET scans are usually done in the outpatient setting. At our Center, we record an EEG during the PET scan to avoid any confusion and confirm that the patient is not having a seizure.
Procedure at Penn State Health
All scheduled patients initially report to the Outpatient EEG Lab at the East Health Campus facility on the day of the PET scan for attachment of electrodes. Patients will subsequently proceed to the area where the PET scan is done along with the EEG technologist.