The history and physical examination, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging are the cornerstones for identifying new and recurrent cancers of the head and neck. The advent of positron emission tomography (PET) and combined PET/CT imaging technology is a promising development. These modalities have the potential to help stage patients presenting with head and neck cancer, identify responses to nonsurgical therapy, and allow earlier detection of recurrence in the hope of improving survival. The following paper provides a brief history of PET and PET/CT imaging. The current PET and PET/CT literature for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck is reviewed, and specific recommendations for its use are provided.