SSM Health Medical Minute – SLU Hospital debuts first digital PET/CT scanner in the region

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ST. LOUIS - SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital is first in the region to offer a fully digital PET/CT scanner, providing patients in need of advanced imaging an alternative that is faster and more accurate than existing technologies.

The new scanner – the Philips Vereos PET/CT system – will be used for patients at SLU Hospital starting today, October 22, 2018.

PET/CT (positron emission tomography/x-ray computed tomography) combines two imaging technologies into one, providing radiologists who need scans for oncology, surgical planning, radiation therapy or cancer staging both a 3D and 2D look at the body. While that technology has significantly changed treatment planning since its inception a decade ago, existing scanners uses analog “photomultipliers.”

The new Vereos scanner at SLU Hospital uses fully digital detectors, providing improved detectability of small lesions with the ability to acquire images in less time and with less radiation exposure than traditional scans. The advantages are threefold.

“This new system will allow us to improve patient comfort and safety with faster, lower dose scans, and to improve our diagnostic efficacy with higher resolution images,” said Dr. Jeff Brown, chair of radiology for SLUCare and SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital. “It is a leap forward for our patients.”

Dr. Brown notes the new scanner can reduce times down to 20 minutes or less.

“The improves patient comfort. Also, patient safety. The radiation dose is significantly lower, and finally, the accuracy of our diagnosis is improved,” he said.

A characterization of the system published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine found Vereos offers “high resolution, stable performance over count rate and time, and excellent image quality.”

“We used to call this part of radiology ‘unclear’ medicine because the images were so fuzzy. Now, we’re calling it nu-CLEAR medicine because the images are so clear.”

To learn more about SSM Health imaging services, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Wednesday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.​

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