Hybrid imaging

Hybrid imaging refers to the fusion of two (or more) imaging modalities to form a new technique. By combining the innate advantages of the fused imaging technologies synergistically, usually a new and more powerful modality comes into being.

Some hybrid imaging modalities are synergistic solely in anatomical details, while others combine structural and molecular imaging. This potential to reveal molecular processes in vivo while simultaneously depicting their anatomic location has been a groundbreaker ever since PET-CT was voted "Medical Invention of the Year" in 2000 by Time Magazine ref.

Existing hybrid imaging modalities comprise

  • PET-CT
  • SPECT-CT
  • MRI-PET
  • MRI-SPECT
  • ultrasound and MRI
  • ultrasound and CT
  • MRI and CT

The general benefits of hybrid imaging include

  • increased diagnostic accuracy
  • a further step towards individualized medicine
  • precise monitoring of interventional procedures
  • reduced radiation exposure, e.g. dynamic US after obtaining CT map

NB: As per the agreed Radiopaedia style guide, when two modalities are combined such as PET and CT, the two modalities are separated by a single dash only, i.e. PET-CT, PET-MRI, etc. We ask contributors to not use the forward slash or any other format.

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Article information

rID: 29008
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Hybrid modalities
  • Fused imaging

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: FDG PET-CT revealing adrenal metastasis
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