• intouch Magazine | November 2016

Hunter Imaging Group Centre for Excellence

The Hunter Imaging Group has opened a new state-of-the-art PET-CT and MRI Centre of Excellence. For many years now Hunter Imaging has been the leading provider of medical diagnostic imaging services with continual investment in high quality and cutting-edge medical imaging technology. Image: The PET-CT combines volume control with advanced CT capabilities for increased diagnostic confidence.

“We are very proud to be the first private provider of PET-CT Services in Newcastle. I think this is a clear indicator of our uncompromised commitment to the doctors and patients of the region. Timely access to PET-CT is critical, especially for patients diagnosed with and being treated for cancer,” said CEO, Dr Demetrius Voutnis.

PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography, and CT stands for Computed Tomography. Essentially, the combination of these two technologies enables Specialists to interpret images that tell them information about the function and structure of internal organs and or tissues. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a unique and non-invasive medical imaging procedure that shows the chemical function of an organ or tissue.

“PET is an extremely useful diagnostic tool that is improving our understanding of the underlying causes of disease and has also improved the way in which many diseases are detected and treated,” says Elizabeth Rose, Hunter Imaging Groups Senior Nuclear Medicine Technologist. “PET scans can detect cancers, as well as organs that are not functioning normally.”

The new PET-CT and MRI Centre of Excellence has been designed to maximise patient comfort and improve the patient experience. “We understand that patients can be highly anxious when coming to us for a scan and therefore, ensure that they receive lots of reassurance and care from our staff and that their physical surrounds ensure they are comfortable during their procedure,” said Elizabeth.

The PET scan involves the injection of a small amount of ‘positron-emitting’ radioactive material (a radiopharmaceutical). The radioactive substance most commonly used in PET scanning is a simple sugar (like glucose) called FDG.

Patients receive the injection in an uptake room while seated in a large and comfortable recliner. After the tracer has had time to circulate, the patient is then placed on the PET-CT bed where they pass through a wide bore under the camera. The PET camera detects emissions coming from the injected radiopharmaceutical, and the computer attached to the camera creates two and three-dimensional images of the area being examined. The specialist then issues a diagnostic report based on the results of the images taken.

The PET-CT Combination allows any abnormality on the PET scan to be precisely located within the body, allowing for a more accurate diagnosis. It is extremely sensitive for detecting the early stages of disease and can detect abnormalities even in the absence of structural change. Information obtained from a PET-CT scan can be used to determine what combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy is most likely to be successful in managing a patient’s cancer. For patients being treated for cancer, it also monitors the effectiveness of their ongoing treatment.

The PET-CT at Gateshead has been registered with the Department of Human Services which means that eligible patients will be bulk billed. PET-CT has strict Medicare criteria which must first be assessed to determine if the patient receiving the scan qualifies for a rebate and this is best discussed with your doctor.

The PET-CT service is available Monday through Friday between the hours 9am to 5pm. For more information on the PET-CT procedure and to watch an information video of the scan visit the website at www.hunterimaging.com.au/patients/services/pet-ct or call the Patient Services Department on 132 336.

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