Design Concepts

As already pointed out the new PET/CT machine at the university of Pittsburgh was becoming very well regarded. Four major medical imaging companies applied to design and build their own PET/CT machines and these were:

  • Siemens medical solutions (Chicago, IL): The Biograph scanner
  • GE medical systems (Milwaukee, WI): Discover LS & Discover ST
  • CTI (Knoxville, TN): Reveal Series
  • Philips Medical (California): Gemini

Before the manufacturers could start the design process basic concepts and important features were first outlined. These can be summarized as follows:

Important decisions that were assessed included:

  • The appropriate levels of CT and PET performance
  • The extent of PET and CT integration needed
  • The flexibility of the configuration of the scanners
  • The potential for any future upgrades
  • The targeted users
  • The applications of the technologies
  • The cost of the technology

Some of the main ideas that were generated from the initial concept stage were that:

  1. Commercial designs should target whole body oncology, not just the brain
  2. PET scanner performance was the main limiting factor for:
    1. Statistical image quality
    2. Spatial resolution
    3. Scan time duration
  3. CT differences in the type of PET/CT device would be due to the number of axial detectors (CT slices) and the rotation speed of the imager.

Some of the main conclusions from the design phases were:

  • All devices offered significant reduction in whole body scan time. Previous PET scans alone took 45mins-60mins. New PET/CT scans took anywhere from 10-20mins
  • Future designs would be more specific to cardiology and neurology as opposed to just brain imaging
  • Larger rooms would be needed to house the new PET/CT scanner
  • New training would be needed to train technician from each field (CT and PET) on how to perform dual testing and training for physicians on anatomical and functional analysis.

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