The Medical Center has received state approval to acquire an in-house, fixed-base PET/CT scanner, hospital officials announced today. The cost is $3,025,406, which includes equipment, space renovation, architectural and engineering fees. The request for a Certificate of Need for the project was approved by the Georgia Department of Community Health's Division of Health Planning.
"The PET/CT scanner is our single best imaging tool for finding cancer cells in a patient's body," said Dr. Glen Vahjen, medical director of Imaging Services for The Medical Center. "This dual-function machine also improves our ability to diagnose coronary artery disease and certain brain disorders, including Alzheimer's disease," he added.
Positron Emission Tomography, or PET imaging, is a type of nuclear medicine imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material. The major applications for PET are in oncology, cardiology and neurology. PET produces a three-dimensional image or map of functional processes in the body. Most PET scans are performed on instruments that are combined PET and CT scanners. CT scanners show the structural parts of the area being examined. The combined PET/CT scans provide more precise images that pinpoint the location of abnormal metabolic activity, such as cancerous tumors, within the body. The combined scans have been shown to provide more accurate diagnoses than the two scans performed separately. The PET/CT scanner will be used extensively in the staging of cancer – the origin of the malignancy and the sites to which it has spread. The technology can help determine whether a treatment is working or if it should be changed.
As the region's leader in oncology services through the John B. Amos Cancer Center and with significant demand in other clinical services, The Medical Center's volume for PET/CT scans is increasing and will soon exceed 850 scans per year. Currently, mobile services are provided at The Medical Center two days per week. Acquisition of the in-house, fixed-base scanner will enable The Medical Center to offer this advanced technology around-the-clock.
The PET/CT scanner will be located adjacent to the Radiology Department at The Medical Center.