TH-AB-210-02: PET Imaging: Basic Principles and Recent Advances



This education session will cover the basic physics and operation principles of gamma cameras and PET scanners. In addition, quality control tests to assure good image quality are described.

The first talk will discuss the components of gamma cameras, image formation principles, and performance characteristics, such as spatial resolution, sensitivity, and energy resolution. Features that affect these performance characteristics will be discussed. Physicists are increasingly expected to perform annual performance tests on gamma cameras, not only as good practice, but to satisfy requirements of accrediting bodies or for insurance reimbursement. The Joint Commission has recently introduced changes in standards for accredited entities providing diagnostic imaging services, including nuclear medicine. Basic performance tests suitable for annual physics testing will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

  • 1.Be able to describe basic principles of gamma camera operation.
  • 2.Learn about performance characteristics and features affecting image quality.
  • 3.Be able to list some basic performance tests for gamma cameras, how to perform the tests and evaluate acceptable performance.

The second talk will focus on PET imaging. An overview of the principles of PET imaging will be provided, including positron decay physics, and the transition from 2D to 3D imaging. More recent advances in hardware and software will be discussed, such as time-of-flight imaging, and improvements in reconstruction algorithms that provide for options such as depth-of-interaction corrections. Quantitative applications of PET will be discussed, as well as the requirements for doing accurate quantitation. Relevant performance tests will also be described.

Learning Objectives:

  • 1.Be able to describe basic physics principles of PET and operation of PET scanners.
  • 2.Learn about recent advances in PET scanner hardware technology.
  • 3.Be able to describe advances in reconstruction techniques and improvements
  • 4.Be able to list relevant performance tests.

Turkington: Research support from GE for PET work, and has served as a consultant for Data Spectrum Corp.