Hoag is proud to announce that it is the first hospital on the West Coast
to routinely offer patients a revolutionary hybrid technology that will
forever change the way neurology, cancer and cardiac patients are diagnosed
Positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (MR/PET), is an
innovative imaging technology that will help in early and accurate diagnosis
of various cancers, degenerative neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s
disease, mild traumatic brain injury and heart disease. MR/PET will also
help physicians tailor treatment options to ensure patients receive the
care that will most likely work best for them.
MR/PET is a hybrid imaging technology that combines in one instrument the
superior MR imaging of structure, and imaging of tissue metabolism on
a molecular level offered by PET. By creating simultaneous PET and MRI
data, the new technology provides more detailed information than either
technique can alone, in one step. This eliminates the need for multiple tests.
The structural and molecular information from a MR/PET will help cardiologists
and surgeons quickly and efficiently determine who could best benefit
from surgery following a heart attack. The applications for neurology
include more definitively diagnosing a traumatic brain injury or Alzheimer’s
disease through identifying the presence of certain molecular deposits
in the brain and how the brain is utilizing energy.
In cancer, MR/PET's ability to see specific molecules in the body will
allow us to target disease in a much more patient-specific, individualized
manner, leading to better and more efficient cancer treatment. Oncologists
will favor this new technology for patients who now have to undergo a
battery of tests, including PET and CT scans, both of which use ionized
What to Expect
The entire MR/PET procedure typically lasts 2-3 hours. It begins with an
injection of a tiny amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) “tracer”
solution that enables evaluation of glucose metabolism (function) in the
body. There are no known side effects to this injection. Once injected,
you will be asked to rest in a quiet room and avoid significant movement
or talking, which may alter the localization of the tracer. The resting
period lasts approximately 60 min.
The MR/PET scanner is very similar in size to an MR scanner. Magnetic Resonance
Imaging (MRI) produces images of the body’s internal structures
by passing radio waves through a powerful magnetic field. Differing frequencies
of radio waves are produced by the different body structures, in return,
these are mapped and converted into digital images by a computer. MRI
is especially good for imaging soft tissues in the body, including the
brain, nerves, muscles and organs.
You will be lying on your back on a movable table that slides into the
center of the machine. The technologist may use straps or bolsters to
help you stay still and maintain proper positioning during the examination.
He or she may place a device called a coil around the part of the body
being studied. This device sends and receives the radio waves which are
used to generate the image.
The imaging phase will take approximately 60 minutes in the scanner. In
some cases, more than one scan is required; you will be notified of the
number of scans at the time of injection. Your total time commitment will
be approximately 2 hours and reports should be in your doctor's office
within 48 hours.
The MR/PET scanner is noisy. You will be given a set of earplugs or headphones
to wear during the examination to reduce the noise. It is important that
you follow the technologist's instructions. You will be asked to remain
still multiple times throughout the examination while each sequence is
being performed. If you are claustrophobic (have a fear of being closed-in),
you may want to discuss the option of receiving sedation for the study
with your physician prior to your appointment. Some studies require the
administration of contrast material into the vein. MRI contrast is called
gadolinium and is different than the contrast administered for CT scans.
A radiology technologist or nurse will place an intravenous line through
which he or she will give the contrast.