Nuclear Medicine and PET/CT

The Division of Nuclear Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center includes five state-of-the-art gamma cameras, all of which are dual-head single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) systems; one of these possesses an integrated X-ray CT system for SPECT attenuation correction and fusion for anatomical localization. Another is an integrated SPECT/CT combining a dual-head SPECT gamma camera and a state-of-the-art multi-detector 64-slice CT unit allowing the performance of CT angiography. A third is an integrated SPECT/CT combining a large field of view dual-head SPECT gamma camera with a state-of-the-art multi-detector 16-slice CT unit. In addition, there are two dual-head SPECT gamma cameras at the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute and one at The Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital

The Nuclear Medicine Division also includes positron emission tomography with integral CT (PET/CT). PET/CT is an imaging modality which allows direct evaluation of the metabolic rate of organs in the normal and various pathological states. PET/CT has become an established procedure for the evaluation of neurologic, cardiovascular, and oncologic disorders. The PET/CT center is equipped with a cyclotron and two state-of-the art integrated PET/CT systems combining a dedicated full ring PET/CT tomograph and a multi-detector CT unit. The cyclotron has been operated commercially for distribution of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) since the mid-nineties, and is also used to produce a variety of research PET/CT radiopharmaceuticals. Combined PET/CT or SPECT/CT devices provide both the metabolic information from PET/CT or SPECT and the anatomic information from CT in a single examination; the information obtained by SPECT/CT and PET/CT is more accurate than either alone.

The facilities include a well-equipped radiopharmacy and in vitro laboratory, a PET/CT radiopharmacy and radiochemistry laboratories. The radiochemistry laboratories have recently expanded facilities and staff for the development of new SPECT and PET/CT radiopharmaceuticals. MicroPET and microSPECT instruments are available at the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Sciences (VUIIS).

The Radiology Department has a comprehensive integrated computer network and PACS system with numerous PACS viewing and clinical workstations.

The affiliated Veterans Administration Medical Center is located on the University campus, directly adjacent to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and includes seven gamma cameras, four with SPECT/CT capability and three with dual head, variable angle capability. There is also a state-of-the art integrated PET/CT system combining a dedicated full ring PET/CT tomograph and a 64 slice multi-detector CT unit.  The VA will soon install a CZT solid-state dedicated high-speed, high resolution cardiac camera.

All nuclear medicine faculty members are board-certified in nuclear medicine and in either internal medicine, pathology, or diagnostic radiology, and are leaders in their field with extensive publications in multiple areas including but not limited to PET and PET/CT and SPECT and SPECT/CT in the evaluation of neurologic, cardiovascular and oncologic disorders. Numerous research programs are ongoing in the Division of Nuclear Medicine, as well as collaboration with other divisions in the Vanderbilt Department of Radiology and the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Sciences.

In addition to the Nuclear Medicine clinical faculty, the Nuclear Medicine Program is supported by:

James A. Patton, Ph.D., Director of Nuclear Medicine Physics
Todd Peterson, Ph.D., Director of Small Animal Imaging Research
Charles Manning, Ph.D., Director of the Radiochemistry Laboratories
Aaron B. Brill, M.D., Ph.D., Research Professor of Radiology and Physics
Michael G. Stabin, Ph.D., Health Physics and Radiation Dosimetry

The Nuclear Medicine and PET/CT clinical service is supported by a well trained staff of technologists certified by the Nuclear Medicine Technologist Certification Board. The Radiology nursing staff also rotates trough nuclear medicine to assist with administration of medications.

We also offer a Nuclear Medicine Residency Program and a Nuclear Medicine Technology Program. There are more than 15 nuclear medicine clinical conferences monthly as well as numerous collaborative clinical and research conferences complemented by an extensive nuclear medicine library with teaching files and computerized instruction. 

 


Section Chief and Members

Jessop_Aaron_round.pngAaron Jessop, M.D, MBA
Chief, Nuclear Medicine and Positron Emission Tomography
Associate Professor of Clinical Radiology and Radiological Sciences