Total-body PET has come a long way from its first conception to today, with both total-body and long axial field of view (> 1m) scanners now being commercially available world-wide. The conspicuous signal collection efficiency gain, coupled with high spatial resolution, allows for higher sensitivity and improved lesion detection, enhancing several clinical applications not readily available on current conventional PET/CT scanners. This technology can provide (a) reduction in acquisition times with preservation of diagnostic quality images, benefitting specific clinical situations (i.e. pediatric patients) and the use of several existing radiotracers that present transient uptake over time and where small differences in acquisition time can greatly impact interpretation of images; (b) reduction in administered activity with minimal impact on image noise, thus reducing effective dose to the patient, improving staff safety, and helping with logistical concerns for short-lived radionuclides or long-lived radionuclides with poor dosimetry profiles that have had limited use on conventional PET scanners until now; (c) delayed scanning, that has shown to increase the detection of even small and previously occult malignant lesions by improved clearance in regions of significant background activity and by reduced visibility of coexisting inflammatory processes; (d) improvement in image quality, as a consequence of higher spatial resolution and sensitivity of total-body scanners, implying better appreciation of small structures and clinical implications with downstream prognostic consequences for patients; (e) simultaneous total-body dynamic imaging, that allows the measurement of full spatiotemporal distribution of radiotracers, kinetic modeling, and creation of multiparametric images, providing physiologic and biologically relevant data of the entire body at the same time. On the other hand, the higher physical and clinical sensitivity of total-body scanners bring along some limitations and challenges. The strong impact on clinical sensitivity potentially increases the number of false positive findings if the radiologist does not recalibrate interpretation considering the new technique. Delayed scanning causes logistical issues and introduces new interpretation questions for radiologists. Data storage capacity, longer processing and reconstruction time issues are other limitations, but they may be overcome in the near future by advancements in reconstruction algorithms and computing hardware.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging