Texas Children’s Hospital announced that it is the first children’s hospital in the United States to begin using a PET/MRI scanner, technology that will help in early and accurate diagnosis of various cancers, heart diseases, and degenerative neurological disorders.

PET/MRI is a hybrid imaging technology that incorporates MRI soft tissue morphological imaging and PET functional imaging. This new imaging device sequentially performs PET and MRI scans, producing more detailed images than either technique alone. Hybrid PET and MRI scans eliminate the need to move patients from one imaging unit to another, making it easier to combine data from both scans to produce enhanced details.

Until recently, scientists could not integrate PET and MRI scanners because the powerful MRI magnets interfered with the imaging detectors on the PET scanner. PET/MRI may be able to replace the PET/CT scans now used to investigate cancers and other problems in pediatric patients. If so, PET/MRI scans will expose patients to significantly less radiation dose than that required for PET/CT scans.