Hybrid Imaging with PET/MRI – Innovative Device Combines Two Methods of Imaging the Body

Cells-in-Motion Podcast | Episode 8

Photos

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can visualize soft organs like the heart and soft tissue structures like tumors while positron emission tomography (PET) shows for example how active a tumor really is.
© Jahn Müller
  • The installation of the new scanner required extensive renovations. To get it into the university hospital the outer wall had to be breached.
    © Thomas Isokeit
  • This procedure was the only way to get the device into the Department of Nuclear Medicine where a necessary control area for radiation protection already existed.
    © Thomas Isokeit
  • The PET/MRI on the way to its new home. Because of the MRI-component the rooms also had to be shielded against magnetic waves.
    © Thomas Isokeit
  • The hybrid PET/MRI device at the University Hospital Münster is already in use to diagnose patients.
    © Jahn Müller
  • For a combined device you need interdisciplinary expertise: (f.l.t.r.) Prof. Dr. Walter Heindel (Radiology), Prof. Dr. Michael Schäfers (Nuclear Medicine), Dr. Thomas Allkemper (Radiology) und Dr. Lars Stegger (Nuclear Medicine).
    © Jahn Müller
  • To make use of the full potential of PET/MRI the scientists in Münster train physicians to work with both components. In addition they investigate in optimizing the image quality of the scans.
    © Jahn Müller

To diagnose cancer or other diseases and to analyse the success of a therapy, it is very helpful to have a look into the body. To do so, physicians make use of several imaging techniques – these have become an integral part of the clinical workflow. Every single method has different assets.

Just recently the University Hospital of Münster (UKM) has brought into operation the hybrid device PET/MRI which combines positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Overall there are only six PET/MRIs in the whole of Germany. Before installing the hybrid scanner suitable rooms had to be constructed: a control area that shields the magnetic waves coming from the MRI. The advantages of PET/MRI are explained in our podcast by Prof. Michael Schäfers (Director of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the University Hospital Münster, Co-Coordinator of the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence and Spokesman of CRC 656). The combination of both imaging techniques brings two different medical departments closer together: the nuclear physicians around Professor Michael Schäfers and the radiologists around Professor Walter Heindel of the University Hospital Münster now take a look at the pictures of the PET/MRI together. As a team, they want to make use of the full potential of PET/MRI.