Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) services are provided by Campbell County Memorial Hospital in partnership with Front Range Imaging, a PET/CT service provider, and the system will be available at the hospital on Tuesdays. The mobile PET unit is a state-of the art scanner integrated into a mobile trailer that provides plenty of room for medical equipment.
What is PET/CT?
In one continuous full-body scan (usually about 30 minutes), PET/CT captures images of miniscule changes in the body's metabolism caused by the growth of abnormal cells, while CT images simultaneously allow physicians to pinpoint the exact location, size and shape of the diseased tissue or tumor. Essentially, small lesions or tumors are detected with PET and then precisely located with CT.
How PET/CT Works
When disease strikes, the biochemistry of tissues and cells change. In cancer, for example, cells begin to grow at a much faster rate. A PET/CT scan takes a digital picture of abnormal cellular structure. The most common form of a PET/CT scan begins with an injection of a glucose-based radiopharmaceutical (FDG), which travels through the body, eventually collecting in the organs and tissues targeted for examination. The patient lies flat on a bed/table that moves incrementally through the PET/CT scanner. The scanner has cameras that detect the gamma rays emitted from the patient, and turns those into electrical signals, which are processed by a computer to generate the medical images. The bed/table moves a few inches again, and the process is repeated.
This produces the digital images, which are assembled by the computer into a 3-D image of the patient's body. If an area is cancerous, the signals will be stronger there than in surrounding tissue, since more of the radiopharmaceutical (FDG) will be absorbed in those areas.
Why PET/CT Works
PET/CT scans give information about the body's chemistry that is not available with other imaging techniques. PET/CT scans reveal metabolic information (as opposed to anatomical information), providing your physician with extra insight. Because PET/CT scanning often reveals disease much earlier than conventional diagnostic procedures (such as CT or MRI), it can help physicians diagnose disease faster.