Positron Emission Tomography-Computerized Tomography, more commonly known as PET-CT, is an imaging technique which combines the benefits of PET scanning and the benefits of CT scanning all in one imaging session on one piece of imaging equipment.
PET-CT imaging reigns supreme over other imaging modalities because this imaging technique combines metabolic data with anatomic data, which yields several benefits in many fields of medicine including oncology, cardiology, and neurology. The following is a brief view of the several benefits that can be obtained by incorporating this imaging technique.
Technical Advantages of PET-CT Scanning
Many physicians include a PET scan and a CT scan, separately, in order to ensure a proper diagnosis for patients. A major issue in doing these studies separately is that the patients may be positioned differently on the PET scanner and the CT scanner, which may cause an equivocal finding, a false-positive finding, or a false-negative finding.
A major benefit to fusion imaging, such as PET-CT, is that the patient is positioned in the exact same location for both exams, which allows for more precise anatomic localization of suspected area. It also greatly reduces patient motion so unwanted artifact is also minimized. From a technical perspective, the combination PET-CT imaging allows for more optimal images as well as better functional/anatomic localization of suspected areas.
Benefits of PET-CT For Oncology
The emergence of PET/CT has the greatest impact on the field of oncology. A CT scan would show an abnormal area and a PET scan would show an abnormal area, but exactly where was the abnormal area? By performing a fusion technique of PET/CT, the images of the PET scan and the CT scan can be fused together to superimpose the abnormal area of the PET scan and the abnormal area of the CT scan on one image.
Obviously, increased accuracy of tumor localization is a major benefit from PET/CT imaging, which is crucial for determining a course of treatment because it clearly shows that the tumor is in the lung and not the chest wall, in the lung instead of the liver, or the neck instead of the superior mediastinum. This imaging modality has become prevalent for tumor localization and has consequently made the art of biopsying much easier and more accurate because the location of the tumor is exactly known.
“PET-CT has fundamentally changed the way physicians diagnose, treat and stage disease in patients diagnosed with cancer. For example, patients diagnosed with lymphoma in the past were staged with an open abdominal surgery. PET-CT allows us to stage these patients non-invasively,” said Dr. George Koshy of SteleRAD.
“PET-CT exams can also help avoid unnecessary biopsies in patients with lung nodules,” states Chip Cole, MD chief of nuclear medicine imaging for SteleRAD. “SteleRAD has multiple subspecialty-trained board certified radiologists interpreting PET-CT examinations with decades of combined expert experience.”
Benefits of PET-CT For Cardiology
For many years, cardiac stress testing with myocardial perfusion imaging was the gold standard for assessing coronary artery disease. The emergence of PET/CT imaging may soon take the place of myocardial perfusion imaging for several important reasons. PET/CT scanning has the advantage of using the CT attenuation correction for its imaging, therefore, the benefit of this is that breast attenuation, diaphragmatic artifact, or attenuation from individuals having a large body habitus, would essentially be eliminated and allow for technically cleaner images and more accurate diagnosis.
Additionally, the addition of a CT scan allows for coronary calcium scoring, which is a wonderful piece of information for determining the coronary risk of a patient, and coronary angiography which is great for an overall anatomic assessment of the patient.
Benefits of PET-CT for Neurology
PET/CT imaging also provides great benefits in the field of neurology. As with oncology, the localization of brain tumors is greatly increased when a CT scan is combined with a PET scan.
Certain types of dementia can be more accurately diagnosed with a PET/CT scan because a PET scan can accurately show hypometabolic areas between the parietotemporal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex, which are very common among individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, the use of PET/CT scanning can be extremely useful in determining areas of seizure activity, particularly in the temporal lobe, which can greatly enhance treatments for epilepsy.
SteleRAD has multiple, highly experienced PET/CT radiologists who are board certified and fellowship trained. If you are looking for an experienced radiological practice to serve your hospital or medical center, call us at 954-358-5250 or contact us online.