Our PET/CT Scanner (Positron Emission Tomography) utilizes the latest state of the art technology to pinpoint the location of cancer within the body before making treatment recommendations. The highly sensitive PET scan picks up the metabolic signal of actively growing cancer cells in the body, and the CT scan provides a detailed picture of the internal anatomy that reveals the size and shape of abnormal cancerous growths. Alone, each test has its limitations but when the results of the scans are fused together they provide the most complete information on cancer location and metabolism. In the past, difficulties have arisen from trying to interpret the results of both tests together because patients often change their positions between tests. The new combined PET/CT scan allows us to perform the tests simultaneously which leaves less room for error in interpreting test results.
Our CT Department provides the community with state of the art CAT Scans. A computerized axial tomography scan is more commonly known by its abbreviated name, CAT scan or CT scan. It is an x-ray procedure which combines many x-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional views and, if needed, three-dimensional images of the internal organs and structures of the body. Imagine the body as a loaf of bread and you are looking at one end of the loaf. As you remove each slice of bread, you can see the entire surface of that slice from the crust to the center. The body is seen on CAT scan slices in a similar fashion from the skin to the central part of the body being examined. When these levels are further "added" together, a three-dimensional picture of an organ or abnormal body structure can be obtained.
Raleigh General Hospital's CT department is also able to provide a relatively new procedure call CTA or CT Angiography. CTA is an examination that uses x-rays to visualize blood flow in arterial vessels throughout the body, from arteries serving the brain to those bringing blood to the lungs, kidneys, and arms and legs. CT combines the use of x-rays with computerized analysis of the images. Compared to catheter angiography, which involves placing a catheter and injecting contrast material into an artery, CTA is a much less invasive and more patient-friendly procedure-contrast material is injected into a peripheral vein rather than an artery. This exam has been used to screen large numbers of individuals for arterial disease. Most patients have CT angiography without being admitted to a hospital.