Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital images their patients using the new General Electric model 690 Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT) scanner. As of May, 2010, Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital is the seventh site in the United States to have this new PET/CT technology including Baptist Hospital of Miami and five other major medical centers across the United States.

What is a PET/CT unit?

It is two (2) technologies that are placed together: a PET unit and a CT unit. They can be used together or independent of each other. When used together, in the industry this is referred to as "Image Fusion" or the laying one image directly over the other.

 The new CT unit is a 64-slice which replaced the hospitals 16-slice technology. The new unit allows for a larger area to be imaged in a shorter time 64 versus 16. The slices as they are referred to are thinner which provides increased detail with the unit being able to see lesions as small as 2mm.

The PET portion of the unit is a molecular imaging unit that utilizes radioactive sugar that is injected into the patient. Bad tissues crave sugar so they collect the radioactive sugar in higher volumes and content.The sensitive PET unit detects where the radioactive sugar is similar to where a storm would be in Pennsylvania.

When combined with the CT, which provides anatomical imaging, which is similar to a road map, the Radiologists can now tell where the bad tissue is. This new PET unit has an upgraded crystal collection system, which is more sensitive. Therefore, the PET certified technologists that run the equipment can image the patient quicker while collecting more data points which increases the quality of the images. There are a total of 609 PET certified technologists in the United States with 32 in Pennsylvania and Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital has 3 of the PET certified technologists that operate their unit. This new PET/CT system will optimize its' use in oncology, which represents more than 90% of clinical PET/CT exams.

For more information regarding PET/CT, call (717) 242-7329. Or to schedule an appointment, call Central Scheduling at (717) 242-7688.