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Out with the old, in with the new

Royal North Shore Hospital has recently farewelled it’s computerised tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanner after 13 years of service to welcome a new state of the art scanner.

Since March 2010, when then prime minister Kevin Rudd opened the scanner, nearly 50,000 scans have been performed, mostly in patients receiving cancer treatment. 

The new Siemens Quadra total body PET/CT scanner, which will be operational from mid-June this year, is one of about 15 similar scanners installed globally.

Director of Nuclear Medicine at RNSH Associate Professor Paul Roach said the new total body scanner will not only reduce the radiation dose of the former scanner, but will also allow tests to be completed in a quarter of the time.

“We’re going to be able to reduce the radiation dose to about half of what we currently do,” he said.

“It will also make the process far quicker for patients, allowing us to scan in about 5 minutes, compared to around 20 minutes currently.” 

The new scanner is a joint venture between RNSH and the University of Sydney as part of a $15 million national project to boost Australia’s PET/CT research capability. 

Professor Roach said that the scanner will have its operational time allotted equally between research and providing clinical services for RNSH patients. 

“The new scanner will be a flagship service for RNSH and will benefit not only our local patients, but it will also play a pivotal role in research efforts on a national level.”

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