PET-MRI scan

What is a PET-MRI scan?

PET-MRI is a medical imaging device that performs both positron-emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans at the same time. PET is an advanced medical imaging examination used to evaluate the function of an organ or system in your body. MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to provide images of any part of the body from any angle.

The simultaneous use of PET and MRI gives your doctor a more detailed and enhanced imaging than either procedure does alone. This hybrid imaging technology aims to provide information on the causes, effects and development of various diseases.

How it works

During a PET scan, a radionuclide tracer is injected into the bloodstream. As radionuclide tracers usually accumulate in diseased tissues, PET scanners can use the radionuclide tracers to create multi-dimensional images of your body.

For the MRI scan, magnetic field and radio waves are used to generate images of the body. MRI scanners can produce detailed images of the body organs in thin sections and 3-dimensional views.

Why do you need a PET-MRI scan?

Your doctor may recommend a PET-MRI scan to do any of the following.

  • Find and diagnose neurological disorders, abnormalities and complex malignancies such as cancers of the neck and pelvis
  • Monitor how certain drugs travel through your body to determine proper bodily functions
  • Monitor stem cells as they are maturing and developing into different body tissues

PET-MRI scans can offer you the following advantages:

  • 50% less exposure to radiation compared to when PET scans are combined with computerised tomography (CT) scan
  • More accurate diagnosis. PET-MRI scans can detect abnormalities in the brain which PET-CT scans miss in more than half of patients scanned
  • Convenience of both PET and MRI scans completed in a single appointment

Who should not undergo a PET-MRI scan?

You should inform your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Metal or medical implants
  • Tattoos
  • Claustrophobia
  • Pregnancy - during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, doctors usually use other imaging methods, such as ultrasound, unless there is a strong medical reason to use MRI

They will discuss the risks with you.

What are the risks and complications of a PET-MRI scan?

A PET-MRI scan is a safe and painless procedure. There are generally no side effects from the imaging technology used.

Why choose Mount Elizabeth Hospitals?

Located in the heart of Singapore across prime locations in Orchard and Novena, Mount Elizabeth is an award-winning name trusted by patients around the region.

Our experienced nuclear medicine radiologists and radiographers provide high standards of diagnostic imaging services to support clinicians in identifying and managing patients' medical conditions.

Our diagnostic radiologists and neurologists

At Mount Elizabeth Hospitals, our diagnostic radiologists and neurologists strive to make you feel comfortable and at ease throughout your healthcare journey.

Our specialists are skilled at performing PET-MRI scans and will guide you through every step of the way with care and attention.

This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.

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