UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital this month became the first children’s hospital in the country to administer an integrated PET-MRI scan to a patient. The integrated PET-MRI scanner, which stands for positron emission tomography-magnetic resonance imaging, combines two common imaging procedures into one, reducing radiation exposure to a minimum and allowing for a dual measurement of structure and metabolism.
“Adding this technology shows our commitment to providing the best possible care,” said Nina Schor, M.D., Ph.D., pediatrician-in-chief at Golisano Children’s Hospital. “We have a beautiful imaging suite in the new building, and now, we’re the first children’s hospital in the country to offer this particular service to our patients.”
PET-MRI technology has emerged in recent years as a valuable tool for radiologists. PET scans allow for health care providers to see how the body is carrying out metabolic functions, while MRI scans can provide an exquisitely detailed 3-dimensional image of the body. Both scans are often necessary to provide the most accurate information, particularly in the fields of oncology, cardiology, and neurology. Combining the scans also allows children to go through one procedure, rather than two.
But while the scanner represents the most advanced technology available, steps were also taken to make sure the machine — and the entire imaging suite — is welcoming and kid-friendly. The PET-MRI is labeled the “S.S. Rochester” and is decorated to look like a pirate ship. Nearby, a CT (computerized tomography) scanner is dressed up to resemble a lighthouse. Elsewhere in the pediatric imaging suite, colorful wall decals, calming music, and mounted iPads help to put children at ease before, during, and after their procedures.
“We want the children to feel like they’re on an outing, rather than in what historically has been a sterile, sometimes frightening environment,” said Hans Blickman, M.D., Ph.D., radiologist-in-chief at Golisano Children’s Hospital.
The new Golisano Children’s Hospital was dedicated in May and opened its doors to patients in July. The hospital sees more than 85,000 patients annually.