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New Digital PET/CT Technology at Beebe Improves Patient Care

Beebe Healthcare now offers one of the most advanced diagnostic tools available for cancer detection: the Discovery™ MI PET/CT imaging system from GE Healthcare.

Beebe Healthcare installed the new PET/CT scanner at the Beebe Health Campus- Rehoboth Beach on Route 24 in late May, and will also be offered at Tunnell Cancer Center’s new South Coastal campus in Millville in the future.

“Beebe Healthcare is thrilled to be the first on the East Coast to offer the new Discovery™ MI PET/CT imaging system from GE Healthcare. We started the first round of trainings in June and currently have three trained technologists; as of late October, 238 patients have had scans using this new imaging system,” said Dan Mapes, Beebe Healthcare’s Director of Diagnostic Services.

“This new state-of-the art detection technology is great news for patients, as the new digital scanner has significantly better resolution, leading to more accurate diagnoses and disease staging.”

This advanced nuclear imaging technique combines positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) into one machine. A PET/CT scan reveals information about both the structure and function of cells and tissues in the body during a single imaging session.

During a PET/CT scan, the patient is first injected with a glucose (sugar) solution that contains a very small amount of radioactive material. The substance is absorbed by the particular organs or tissues being examined. The patient rests on a table and slides into a large tunnel-shaped scanner. The PET/CT scanner is then able to detect damaged or cancerous cells where the glucose is being taken up (cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells) and the rate at which the tumor is using the glucose (which can help determine the tumor grade). The procedure is painless and varies in length, depending on the part of the body that is being evaluated.

By combining information about the body’s anatomy and metabolic function, a PET/CT scan provides a more detailed picture of cancerous tissues than either test does alone. The images are captured in a single scan which provides a high level of accuracy.

“Because of the superior sensitivity and resolution of the digital PET images in combination with the detailed anatomic information from CT, we are able to detect cancerous lesions earlier and with more confidence which helps the oncology team decide on the best course of treatment,” said Dr. Ellen Bahtiarian, diagnostic radiologist and nuclear medicine physician at Beebe Healthcare.

In addition to providing comprehensive PET oncology analysis to monitor cancer treatments, Discovery™ MI can be used to address clinical challenges beyond oncology to include brain imaging and FDG bone scanning.

Specific advantages of the GE Healthcare’s Discovery™ MI PET/CT imaging system include:

  • Significantly better small lesion detectability
  • Reduced time for the patient during the scan and a lower dose rate
  • Technology to more accurately access treatment response and guide physician treatment planning decisions
  • Up to 82 percent reduction in CT dose with ASiR-V, at the same image quality
  • An extended table length allows for the new scanner to perform the scan in one session, whereas in the old scanner, if someone was above 6 ft. tall, it required a repositioning and two scans.

Also of note to patients, the American College of Radiology recently provided the below update regarding additions to Patient Preparation Guidelines:

    • Avoid carbohydrates for 24 hours (previously 12 hours)
    • Avoid Metformin for 48 hours in GI cancers if possible
    • No oral diabetes medications for 4 hours prior to exam
    • Short acting insulin: Take only a ½ dose if taking on the morning of the exam. It must be taken 4 hours or more before the exam.
    • Diabetic patients should pack a snack and their medications for after their exam or in the event of hyperglycemia.

To learn more about Beebe Healthcare’s Imaging Department, visit or call (302) 645-3278 to schedule an appointment today. The Discovery™ MI PET/CT imaging system is housed at the Bookhammer Outpatient Center, Beebe Health Campus, 18941 John J. Williams Highway, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971.