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Home > Testing & Treatment > Screenings & Diagnosis > PET-CT Scanner
The Hall-Perrine Cancer Center recently implemented advanced imaging for cancer diagnosis and artificial-based radiation treatment planning tools, including a new PET-CT scanner and a CT simulation scanner combined with a state-of-the-art radiation treatment planning system. This new technology will provide improved image quality, faster scan times and a lower radiation dose. The PET-CT scanner was installed in December 2020, and the CT simulation scanner and planning system will be installed this spring.
By overlaying the PET-CT scan and the CT simulation scan, our radiation oncologists are able to outline the cancerous area so that treatments can be more accurately targeted to the tumor and the dose to nearby healthy tissue can be reduced. And, because the new technology provides clearer imaging, our oncology team will be able to identify disease sooner and with more precision, which will improve patient outcomes.
The digital PET-CT scanner produces 3D images for a more accurate diagnosis. Located in the Hall Radiation Center, the new PET-CT scanner is so advanced that it reduces the amount of radiation needed to obtain PET (positron emission tomography) pictures of the human body; the CT (computed tomography) portion also uses less radiation to create the 3D imagining.
When radiation oncologists are viewing the PET-CT scans from the new scanner, they see an improved image quality that helps them to easily diagnose their patients. The new PET-CT is also able to show diseases that are three times smaller than non-digital scanners, which allows doctors to identify cancers other scanners can’t.
In addition to being the most accurate PET-CT imaging in Cedar Rapids, patients will have a more comfortable experience. For instance, the table patients lay on during the scan is wider to help patients lie in a relaxed state. It also lowers to 18 inches from the floor so patients can easily get on and off the table without a step stool. Compared to other PET-CT scanners on the market, these advancements allow for much faster scanning times, which significantly shortens the time the patient has to lay on the table.
After the patients have completed their PET-CT scan, the Hall Radiation oncology team (including physicians, physicists and dosimetrists) can evaluate the scan in order to know how to position the patient for the CT simulation scan, based on where the tumor is located in the body. As a result of the new technology, the CT scan only takes up to one minute, compared to the previous 15-minute scan time, which improves patients’ comfort and also creates a faster turnaround for our radiation oncologists to review the scans.
This new technology also improves the image quality so our radiation oncologists can better identify where the cancer is located in the body and then utilize the state-of-the-art treatment planning system to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient. Furthermore, the new CT scanner in Hall Radiation also has advanced tools to reconstruct images without artifacts caused by metal implants, as well as take breath motion into account so the clinical team can evaluate the tumor as it moves in the body. The new CT simulation software and treatment planning system incorporates artificial intelligence tools, which help define the patient’s anatomy and optimize the radiation therapy plan for each plan, improving the accuracy and speed of the treatment planning process.