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What is PET – MRI?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, a scan that uses magnetic and radio waves to produce detailed morphological information of the organs, tissues and structures within the body.
PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography, imaging test that helps to measure the functionality of tissues and organs within the body.
PET-MR is a hybrid scanner that combines of the two modalities into a single scan. Capturing metabolic activity and anatomy together offers doctors a more precise and accurate assessment of disease, as well as an improved understanding of the physiologic process. This allows for easier and faster detection, characterization, staging and treatment of oncological, neurological and cardiovascular diseases, and exposes patients to lower levels of radiation.
PET-MRI is a high-end technology product that inhabits high-definition PET detectors in a 3 Tesla high magnetic field MRI resulting in the most accurate imaging device for cancer diagnosis.

PET – MRI Difference in Oncological Diagnosis

MRI is the closest diagnostic imaging method to pathomorphology due to its high tissue resolution and tissue-specific imaging techniques.
When MRI Spectroscopy, Diffusion-weighted MR İmaging, Perfusion, and BOLD (Detection of Tumor Hypoxia) examinations are added, functional data is obtained resulting in higher diagnostic sensitivity.
The key advantage of PET-MRI fort he patient is the lack of radiation during MR imaging.
Specificity increases in tumor-specific PET agents, making use of molecular imaging providing metabolic, functional, and numeric information in oncological diagnosis in conjunction with multi-parametric MRI techniques.

Why to Prefer PET-MRI?

  • Better energy efficiency with one system, one exam
  • No transportation of patients between examination rooms and for multiple patient visits.
  • Less radiation more information
  • Complete tumor and organ coverage
  • Increased confidence in tumor diagnosis
  • Simultaneous imaging of morphology, function and metabolism
  • Earliest assesment of tumor therapy response
  • Reduction in examination time up to 50% for increased productivity
  • Increased patient comfort with shorter and less exams

PET-MRI can cover all types of cancers and organ systems in one single examination with low radiation exposure to patients.

How PET-MRI Works?

PET-MRI is a hybrid imaging modality that acquires both an MRI and a PET scan of either the whole body (head to toe), partial whole body (head to mid-thigh) and/or specific regions of interest (ex: chest, abdomen, pelvis) at the same time.

For the PET portion of the study, a small amount of radioactive material is injected into the body. The type of radioactive material depends on the organ or tissue being studied. Once the injection is completed, the patient will wait approximately 60 minutes in a quiet area with limited movement to allow the body to absorb the radioactivity. More of the radiotracer material will accumulate in the cells with higher chemical activity, which generally corresponds to the areas of disease.

For the MRI portion, magnetic fields and radiofrequency bursts will move the molecules in the patient’s body out of their normal alignment or their normal spinning pattern. As the molecules return to their natural positions, the machine records that activity and uses the information to create detailed images of the organs, tissues and other structures inside the body.

The images acquired from the PET-MRI scan are then processed and looked at by a physician to detect and characterize the disease in question.

How to Prepare?

Request an appointment online or call us to book your appointment. Once your appointment is booked, your forms will be available on the patient portal.

Notify our staff if you have any metal or medical/mechanical devices in your body. This exam may NOT be performed if you have a cardiac pacemaker, defibrillator, cerebral aneurysm clips or a metallic hearing implant. You must remove all jewelry and any other metallic objects such as hearing aids, jeans with metal zippers, body piercings and removable dental work. Wearing a sweatsuit with no metal may prevent you from having to change into a gown.

24 hours prior to the PET-MRI scan

Refrain from any strenuous activity and do not eat or drink any caffeinated products ( coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, etc.), decaffeinated products, or juice. Follow a low carbohydrate diet (no bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, cereals, beans or sweets). Chicken, fish, eggs, beef, cheese, bacon and green vegetables are all okay to eat.

On the day of the PET-MRI scan

You must not eat, drink, smoke or chew for 6 hours prior to your exam time. Water and medications are okay. Remove all jewelry and any other metallic objects such as metal zippers, body piercings and removable dental work. Wearing a sweatsuit with no metal may prevent you from having to change into a gown.

Additional preparationon for PET-MRI with I.V. contrast

If you have impaired kidney function, are diabetic or are 70 years of age or older, we will perform an i-STAT creatinine level at the time of your exam to assess your kidney function. It is important to inform us if you are taking the medication hydroxyurea when making your appointment. Keep hydrated before and after your exam.

What Happens During Test?

The PET – MRI technologist will confirm that you are free of all metal both inside and outside your body and review your medical history.
The nurse or technologist will then place an intravenous needle/catheter into a vein in your arm or hand. Your blood sugar level will then be checked and the radioactive tracer will be administered through the I.V.
You will then be brought to a very quiet room to rest for approximately one hour to allow the radiotracer to circulate through your body and be absorbed by the cells. The radiotracer is taken up by both normal and abnormal tissue, according to their metabolic rate.
After one hour you will be asked to empty your bladder and then taken into the PET-MRI room and asked to lie down on the scanning table. The area of your body being scanned, whether it be whole body (head to mid-thigh) and/or specific regions of interest (ex: chest, abdomen, pelvis) will be comfortably positioned in surface coils. The coil maximizes the administration and recording of the radio frequency bursts and the magnetic fields to ensure the clearest possible images.
The scanning table you are lying on will be moved into the machine and the test will begin. The machine never touches you. Be sure to remain as still as possible to ensure the best possible images. Although the PET-MRI technologist cannot stay in the room with you during the scan, he or she will be able to talk to you from outside the room through an intercom.
Once all of the images have been recorded, the scanning table will move out of the PET–MRI machine and the technologist will return to assist you off the table.
The PET–MRI scan can take from 45-50 minutes, depending on the area of the body being scanned.

What Happens After the Test?

One of our board-certified nuclear medicine physicians and/or radiologists interprets your images, compares them to any previous studies, and dictates a report which is transcribed, proofread, and signed. The report is then faxed and mailed to your referring doctor within one or two days. Your doctor will read the report and review the findings with you.

Doctor Videos

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Florence Nightingale Hospitals Webinar Series - Advanced Imaging in Radiology - PET/MRI in Oncology
Florence Nightingale Hospitals Webinar Series - Advanced Imaging in Radiology - PET/MRI in Oncology