Physicians are finally starting to realize the benefits of combining of certain medical images. The combination of different medical images is known as image fusion, and this can help provide clear images and more concise answers to important questions.
CT is an imaging test in which a part of the body is X-rayed from different angles. These images are combined by a computer to produce complete pictures of internal organs. This procedure is often done on an outpatient basis.
A special dye called a contrast material is needed for some CT scans, to help highlight the areas of your body being examined. The contrast material blocks X-rays and appears white on images, which can help emphasize blood vessels, intestines or other structures.
Your doctor may recommend a CT scan to help:
- Diagnose muscle and bone disorders, such as bone tumors and fractures
- Pinpoint the location of a tumor, infection or blood clot
- Guide procedures such as surgery, biopsy and radiation therapy
- Detect and monitor diseases and conditions such as cancer, heart disease, lung nodules and liver masses
- Monitor the effectiveness of certain treatments, such as cancer treatment
- Detect internal injuries and internal bleeding
Since the body relies on glucose for energy, a patient is injected with a harmless radioactive glucose/water solution called a “tracer” before their PET scan. Once the tracer is inside the body, the patient is positioned into the PET scanner.
As the body processes the tracer, positrons begin to collide with electrons, causing gamma rays to be emitted. A PET scanner detects and measures these gamma rays while a computer uses the measurements to create pictures of the various organs at work within the body. In summary, these images give physicians the ability to tell healthy tissue from unhealthy tissue.
The PET scanner itself does not produce any radiation. It merely picks up signals from the tracers already in your body.
Your doctor may order a PET scan to inspect the blood flow, oxygen intake, and metabolism of your organs and tissues. PET scans are most commonly used to detect:
- heart problems
- brain disorders
- problems with the central nervous system
This advanced nuclear imaging technique combines positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) into one machine. A PET/CT scan reveals information about both the structure and function of cells and tissues in the body during a single imaging session.
During a PET/CT scan, the patient is first injected with a glucose solution that contains a very small amount of radioactive material. The substance is absorbed by the particular organs or tissues being examined. While the patient rests on a table and enters the tunnel-shaped scanner, the PET/CT scanner is then able to view the damaged or cancerous cells where the glucose is being taken up. The procedure is painless and varies in length, depending on the part of the body that is being evaluated.
By combining information about the body's anatomy and metabolic function, a PET/CT scan provides a more detailed picture of cancerous tissues than either test does alone. The images are captured in a single scan which provides a high level of accuracy.
At Rosetta Radiology, we utilize PET and CT scans together in order to give our patients the most thorough diagnosis. If you would like to make an appointment or ask us questions about PET/CT scans, feel free to give us a call at 212-744-5538.