Princeton Radiology’s newly dedicated Nuclear Imaging Suite in Jamesburg, New Jersey is the only facility in the state to offer the two latest nuclear medicine imaging modalities: PET/CT and SPECT/CT — under one roof. These two advanced nuclear imaging procedures are enabling physicians to provide earlier, more precise diagnoses and treatments.

“Before the combined PET/CT and SPECT/CT modalities were installed, patients had to undergo two separate exams,” explains Dr. John Ghazi, Princeton Radiology diagnostic radiologist. “Now the patient goes on the table once and the scanner gathers the CT data and the nuclear medicine data.”

The patient benefits from a shorter exam time and the increased comfort and convenience of only needing to make one appointment. In addition, the combined technology provides more consistent results because it reduces the effect of patient movement and eliminates the time interval in between two exams.

What is a PET/CT scan and how does it work? PET/CT is a state-of-the-art technique that combines two different forms of medical imaging. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is

designed to accurately identify areas of abnormal metabolic

(or cellular) activity, which are associated with several disease processes.

During this exam a small amount of a radioactive glucose (sugar) tracer is given to the patient, typically by injection. The scan shows how the body breaks down and uses this glucose. Cancer cells, for example, use glucose differently than healthy cells. These differences show up on the scan.

Computed Tomography (CT) use X-rays to produce detailed structural images of the body. By combining PET and CT, both the presence of disease and its precise location can be identified. PET/CT’s major clinical impact to date is in cancer diagnosis and staging; however, PET/CT is also a useful modality for imaging the heart and brain. PET/CT can show more than just where tumors are located. PET/CT can reveal whether lesions are benign or malignant and can assess the effectiveness of treatment, whether surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.

PET imaging has been proven to change the way physicians manage a patient’s disease for one in three patients.

What is SPECT/CT and how is it utilized? SPECT/CT is an advanced medical imaging technology, which, like PET/CT, combines CT with a second form of medical imaging — in this case, Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT). SPECT/CT allows direct visualization of tissues, tumors and organs, enabling physicians to detect heart disease, cancer and other diseases earlier and target treatments with greater precision.

During this exam a small amount of a radiopharmaceutical is introduced into the patient’s body by injection, swallowing, or inhalation. The radiopharmaceutical is specifically designed to be attracted to specific organs, bones or tissues, depending on the area being studied. The SPECT scanner uses this information to create images or “hot spots.” The CT portion of the exam allows physicians to accurately localize these “hot spots” and make a definitive diagnosis. Both PET/CT and SPECT/CT detect changes in patients’ molecular activity — before structural changes become visible — and combine this information with precise anatomical detail obtained through CT technology to determine the exact location of abnormality.

“The combined systems provide more detailed information, with increased image clarity in a single, non-invasive procedure than is possible through separate procedures,” said Dr. Ghazi. “PET/CT and SPECT/CT give us the data we need to make diagnoses with pinpoint accuracy to achieve the greatest outcomes for our patients.”

Since bringing the first PET scanner to New Jersey in 1999, Princeton Radiology has continued to deliver state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging services, and has remained true to its commitment to provide excellence in imaging. Now with the opening of their new Nuclear Imaging Suite, they have once again expanded to meet the needs of their

patients and referring providers.

Princeton Radiology offers the most advanced all-digital imaging services available in their full-service facilities located in: Princeton, Jamesburg, Hillsborough and East Windsor. 609-655-0802. www.princetonradiology.com.

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