PET Scanning at Baystate PET (positron emission tomography) scanning is now available to Baystate Health patients. The service is being provided by Baystate MRI & Imaging - PET Services as a mobile service at 80 Wason Ave., Springfield. The program is a partnership between Baystate MRI & Imaging and Shields Health Care Group of Quincy.
PET scanning takes advantage of the increased glucose metabolism exhibited by many tumors. It may also be taken up in areas of infection, acute or chronic. FDG (F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose), the most frequently used PET isotope, is a glucose analog. Cells take up this glucose analog identically to the way they take up glucose but after taking it up, do not metabolize it further. Hence, many tumors which exhibit increased glucose metabolism are readily visualized by PET, be they primary or metastatic. PET provides metabolic information not obtainable from other imaging modalities and can look at the entire body in one scan and in several planes, thus providing staging information that is more reliable than many, and sometimes all, other imaging modalities.
Medicare currently approves PET scans for the following indications:
Characterization of solitary pulmonary nodules (benign or malignant).
Preoperative staging of non-small cell carcinomas of the lung and restaging after therapy.
Staging and restaging of esophageal carcinomas.
Staging and restaging of colorectal cancers.
Staging and restaging of lymphomas.
Staging and restaging of melanomas (excluding evaluation of regional nodes).
Diagnosis, staging and restaging of head and neck cancers exclusive of CNS and thyroid cancers.
Diagnosis (under certain circumstances), staging and restaging of breast cancers.
Myocardial perfusion (with Rb82), this indication will not be currently available at any of the hospitals served by the PET scanner.
Pre-surgical localization of a nidus of refractory seizures.
In addition to the above-approved indications, PET tumor imaging shows promise in other malignancies, including thyroid, ovarian, pancreatic, hepatocellular carcinomas, and musculoskeletal tumors, but imaging of these tumors requires approval by the payer. It has also been used successfully to distinguish recurrent brain tumors from radiation necrosis.
For more information or to schedule a patient, please call 1-(866)-258-4738.
Steven B. Allen, MD Chief, Division of Nuclear Medicine, BMC