The combination PET/CT scanner is a major advance in imaging technology and patient care.
As the name implies, it combines two scanners -- the PET (Positron Emission Tomography), which shows metabolism and the function of cells, and the CT (Computed Tomography), which shows detailed anatomy -- into one.
The result is that doctors are now able to get highly defined, 3-D images inside the human body in one system. This provides important information about a patient's condition, and allows doctors to make the best choices about treatment of conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
For example, the PET scanner can provide critical information about the metabolic function of cancer cells, and can detect very small tumors, but not the exact location.
The CT scanner, however, provides that anatomic information. So the combination PET/CT scanner gives doctors a powerful new system for detecting and diagnosing conditions like cancer earlier and more accurately, increasing the patient's chances of a good outcome.
Another patient benefit of the PET/CT scanner is its open design. This reduces the chances patients will feel claustrophobic, a complaint many patients have had with scanners that have long tunnels.