Image of man of large stature having his MRI done.

We are the first outpatient facility in the United States to offer PET/MRI. This innovative machine combines the simultaneous power of whole body Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to more accurately detect, characterize, stage and treat oncological, neurological, and cardiovascular diseases. Also, PET/MRI significantly reduces radiation exposure, making it ideal for imaging certain pediatric conditions.

Image of body and head MRI scan

PET/MRI is a hybrid imaging modality that simultaneously acquires MRI and PET images.

For the PET portion of either study, a small amount of radioactive material is injected into the body. The type of radioactive material depends on the exam. Once the injection is completed, the patient will wait about 60 minutes in a quiet area with limited movement while the body absorbs the material.

More of the radiotracer material will accumulate in the cells with higher chemical activity, which generally corresponds to the areas of disease.

For the MRI portion, radio waves are transmitted into your body via a large magnetic field. The radio waves bounce back differently depending on what kind of tissue, or abnormalities within the tissue, those waves hit. The machine records the activity and uses the information to create detailed images of the organs, tissues and other structures inside the body.

Image of someone having an MRI done of him

MRI uses a very powerful magnet. It is extremely important that you do not bring any metal into the area. Doing so can create a dangerous scenario for you and for staff members.

You must remove all jewelry and any other metallic objects such as hearing aids, jeans with metal zippers, body piercings, and removable dental work. Wearing a sweatsuit with no metal may prevent you from having to change into a gown.

PET/MRI uses a very powerful magnet. It is extremely important that you do not bring any metal into the area. Doing so can create a dangerous scenario for you and for staff members.

You must remove all jewelry and any other metallic objects such as hearing aids, jeans with metal zippers, body piercings, and removable dental work. Wearing a sweatsuit with no metal may prevent you from having to change into a gown.


24 hours prior to the PET/MRI scan

Refrain from any strenuous activity and do not eat or drink any caffeinated products (no coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, etc.), decaffeinated products, or juice. Eat a low carbohydrate diet (no bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, cereals, beans or sweets). Chicken, fish, eggs, beef, cheese, bacon, and green vegetables are all okay to eat.

On the day of the PET/MRI scan

You must not eat, drink, smoke, or chew for 6 hours prior to your exam time. Water and medications are okay.

Additional prep for PET/MRI with I.V. contrast

If you have impaired kidney function, are diabetic, or are 60 years of age or older, we will perform an i-STAT creatinine level at the time of your exam to assess your kidney function. It is important to inform us if you are taking the medication hydroxyurea when making your appointment. Keep hydrated before and after your exam.

What are some uses for PET/MRI?

PET/MRI for Oncology

Oncology can gain major value from PET/MRI, as locating tumors and defining damaged areas around the tumor requires images from multiple scans. It is easier to generate a thorough analysis from the images when they are taken simultaneously. PET/MRI can streamline early cancer detection and accurate staging. It can also assist in treatment planning and therapy selection. Throughout a patient’s treatment, PET/MRI images provide enough data to efficiently monitor the patient’s response to that treatment plan.

PET/MRI for Neurology

PET/MRI images also help to deliver advanced care for patients with various neurologic disorders. Analysis of anatomical structures and metabolic processes allows doctors to detect and evaluate neurodegenerative diseases and psychological disorders more efficiently. Moreover, images from a PET/MRI are useful for biopsy guidance, treatment planning, and response assessment.

PET/MRI for Cardiology

PET/MRI scanners allow for cardiac tissue characterization, analysis, and visualization of the how the heart chambers are functioning. It can detect subtle changes in tissue composition. Images from a PET/MRI are used for diagnosing and treating sarcoidosis, myocarditis, and myocardial infarction.