MR PET arrives at The Royal Children's Hospital


The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) has became the first paediatric hospital in the southern hemisphere to install powerful MR PET scanning technology.

The nine tonne, $6 million Magnetic Resonance Positron Emission Tomography machine, or MR PET, was funded by donations to the Good Friday Appeal.

RCH Neurologist Dr Simon Harvey said the MR PET combined the most effective medical scanning procedures, Medical Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET), into one piece of equipment for the first time.

“For our young patients, some of whom require sedation and even general anaesthetic to undergo these important but intimidating procedures, the MR PET will means fewer scans, and therefore a more positive experience,” Dr Harvey said.

“It also means more accurate diagnoses, because in addition to giving us high quality MRI and PET scans in one session, the MR and PET will be accurately overlaid into one image.

“This will show us, very precisely, the location of tumours, malformations and sites of inflammation in the body, many of which might not be visible with the single imaging modality.

“The MR PET will be used to assess and diagnose a wide range of patients, but it has particular advantages for children with certain forms of cancer, uncontrolled epilepsy and inflammatory disorders,” he said.


The MR PET was transported to the RCH on a semi-trailer and manoeuvred into its new, purpose-built, copper-lined lab in the Medical Imaging Department via a 20 tonne forklift and a team of eight people. The copper shielding is to ensure the operation of the MR PET magnet does not affect other areas of the hospital.  


Good Friday Appeal Director Anne Randall said it was rewarding for people to see the result of their donations.

“Every year, we are overwhelmed by the generosity of the Victorian public who give so generously to ensure the RCH is able to do the spectacular work it does. This technology perfectly encapsulates the world-class standard of care the RCH can achieve using donated funds,” Ms Randall said.


CEO of the RCH Foundation, Sue Hunt, said the hospital was recognised globally for its leadership in paediatric healthcare.

“The installation of this important piece of equipment is a wonderful example of philanthropy supporting the work of a great hospital. People from across the State give generously to make a difference to a child’s life and MR PET will have a tremendous impact on the lives of many, many patients,” Ms Hunt said.


What is a PET scan? PET is a form of metabolic imaging - an imaging technique that uses radioisotopes and provides critical information about the metabolic state of body tissues. Doctors use PET scans to identify and monitor tumours, areas of inflammation and sites of seizure activity.

What is a MRI scan? MRI is form of structural imaging - an imaging technique that provides doctors with critical information about the structure and function of body tissues.



Watch the MR PET arrive: