PET / MRI Scan

UCSF’s PET/MRI brings cutting-edge technology to the clinic. This new technology combines time-of-flight PET with 3-Tesla MRI for exceptional image quality, more conclusive diagnosis, and lower radiation in a single exam. The powerful combination of molecular, functional and anatomic information provides essential data for critical treatment decisions.

Benefits of PET/MRI

  • Convenience of two exams at once
  • Reduced radiation dose
  • Enhanced image quality
  • More comprehensive diagnosis

Clinical Indications

For the initial introduction of PET/MRI into the clinic, we provide the following protocols:

PET/MRI's precision insights, low radiation and convenience are also especially important for pediatric patients and patients in therapies requiring repeat imaging.

How long does a PET/MRI exam take?

The patient arrives 30 minutes prior to their appointment time, and the radiotracer is injected.  The patient waits for about an hour while the radiotracer localizes to the tissue of interest and the PET/MRI is subsequently performed. The entire visit takes around two and a half hours.  For information on preparing for your exam, click here. 

As with any MRI, safety is our primary concern.  Please visit our page on UCSF MR safety.  Notably, if you have any implantable device, it is likely unsafe for you to be imaged using the PET/MRI.

What is the cost of a PET/MRI Scan?

After a PET/MRI is scheduled, UCSF’s Central Authorization Unit helps patients and referring practices with pre-service insurance authorization or pre-service coverage determination when the patient is referred by a UCSF provider. Patients referred by non-UCSF providers must obtain insurance authorization through their referring physician’s office. In most cases this procedure is covered by insurance plans, including Medicare. UCSF’s Radiology Billing Department at (415) 514-8888 is happy to answer any questions about billing or provide price estimates for any Radiology services.

How are PET/MRI scans ordered for your patients?

For UCSF physicians, please read our instructions for ordering through Apex.

For outside referrals, please provide a quick written order for a PET/MRI and schedule the appointment through radiology scheduling. Our billing department will then contact the referring physician's practice to gather the needed information.

We look forward to partnering with you as opportunities continue to expand in this rapidly evolving arena.

Our Radiologists

Have any questions about the PET/MRI?  We want to hear from you. Please contact us:

Professor of Radiology and Medicine (Cardiology)
Director of Nuclear Cardiology for MI&T
Director, Nuclear Medicine Residency & Fellowship Programs
Professor of Clin Radiology
Associate Professor
Director, Fellowship Programs
Associate Director, Precision Imaging of Cancer and Therapy
Assoc Prof of Clin Radiology
Vice Chair, Clinical Operations and Strategy
Associate Chair, Joint Ventures
Director of Molecular Therapy for MI&T
Professor In Residence