IOP Institute of Physics

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Medical hybrid imaging

17 October 2011

At our Kent Centre on 10 October Dr Gordon Ellul, from the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, explained the advances in a number of medical imaging techniques commonly available in hospitals.


Among the most common methods are the positron emission tomography (PET) and computerised tomography (CT). 

These build up a 3D picture of the internal structure of the body from 2D sections. Thus producing pictures of the internal organs and identifying disease.

The PET scan requires the injection of a radioactive positron emitter into the patient’s blood. 

This emits positrons which interact with body cells to produce pairs of ϒ-rays . The ϒ- rays are detected and an image of the organs/disease computationally constructed.

CT uses X-rays to provide the images of the internal organs. Current machines take PET and CT scans simultaneously. The two pictures, with resolutions of about 1 mm, enable most abnormalities to be identified.

In addition MRI machines, using magnetic resonance imaging based on proton resonance, provide a further 3D images of internal organs. Many examples of diseased patients were discussed and their treatments explained.

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