Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Patient Care - Nuclear Medicine (PET/CT) Department

Patient Care - Nuclear Medicine (PET/CT) Department

Providing diagnosis, management, treatment, and prevention of diseases is priority for Houston Methodist’s Hospital Nuclear Medicine department.

Some common Nuclear Medicine procedures include:

  • Lung ventilation and perfusion scans (VQ scans) – used to diagnose pulmonary embolism and perfusion and ventilation post lung transplant.
  • Bone scans – used to detect bone metastases, diagnose osteomyelitis, evaluate bone trauma such as fracture, aid in the diagnosis of inflammatory disease such as arthritis and Paget’s disease.
  • Lymphoscintigraphy – used for identification and localization of draining lymph node groups and sentinel nodes in breast cancer and melanoma.
  • Renal scans – used to evaluate renal perfusion and function, renal trauma, renal transplants, renal collecting system obstruction and assist in the diagnosis of renovascular hypertension.
  • Hepatobilliary scans – used to diagnose acute cholecystitis, evaluate extrahepatic biliary tract obstruction, detect bile leaks.
  • Thyroid uptake & Thyroid scans - used to diagnose the cause of hyperthyroidism: Graves’ disease, thyroiditis, or hyperfunctioning thyroid nodule; evaluate ectopic thyroid tissue.
  • I-131 whole body scans – evaluation of thyroid metastasis in patients who have had thyroidectomies for known thyroid tumors.
  • Brain scans - used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, brain death, localize seizure foci, and map the distribution of brain perfusion during vascular interventions.
  • Octreoscans – used to detect and localize neuroendocrine tumors such as:
    • Carcinoid tumors
    • Paragangliomas
    • Gastrinomas
    • Pheochromocytomas
    • Neuroblastomas
    • Glucagonomas
    • Functioning and non-functioning anterior pituitary tumors
  • Parathyroid scans – used to detect and localize parathyroid adenomas in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism prior to surgery.

The department also offers patients a new diagnostic imaging system known as PET/CT. This hybrid technology merges two diagnostic studies into a single exam, allowing physicians to see tumor anatomy and function simultaneously.

The PET/CT scanner has the ability to perform respiratory gating (4-Dimentional CT scanning) for radiation treating planning. The highly sensitive PET scan uses the radioactive tracer (FDG) to detect increased metabolic activity found in cancerous growth, while the CT scan uses computerized analysis of x-rays to reveal the location, size, and shape of abnormal cancerous growths. Many oncologists use FDG-PET/CT to monitor disease status and tumor response to chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment.