(Medical Xpress) -- The Siemens Biograph mMR system, offering both a PET scan and an MRI that work simultaneously, has been given approval by the FDA. The idea behind this machine and the ability to run both tests at the same time is expected to save diagnostic time as well as reduce a patients exposure to radiation.
A PET scan, or positron emission tomography, is a medical imaging test which creates three-dimensional images of functioning systems in the body. The PET scan looks at gamma rays which are emitted by a positron-emitting radionuclide, or tracer, which is placed into the body. They have routinely been paired with CT scans.
An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a medical imaging test that uses a powerful magnetic field. It is able to provide contrast between soft tissues within the body such as the brain, heart, muscles, and cancers. Unlike the CT scan, an MRI uses no radiation.
The Biograph mMR is the first device to allow for simultaneous testing by both machines, according to the FDA, and was given approval based on bench tests which compared the new device with older PET/CT device combinations. The MRI has the ability to provide much more detailed images than the CT and this new combination will allow for a reduction in radiation exposure by a patient.
The new system will allow for much quicker diagnostic testing. Siemens claims that the new system can scan the entire body in as little as 30 minutes. Having the same scans run sequentially could take an hour or more, provided they were both available right after the other. In many cases, patients would be required to wait in between testing for the other machine to become available. This simultaneous testing eliminates that possible wait time.
Siemens Medical Solutions, a division of Siemens, is a German engineering company that is headquartered in Pennsylvania. Earlier this year, they unveiled plans to restructure and reorganize their healthcare business in order to improve growth.
Explore further: Hybrid PET and MRI imaging on the horizon