Truly Frugal Pet: Is It Possible?

  • R. J. Nickles
  • O. T. de Jesus


A pivotal issue in this post-election year concerns the containment of health care costs, currently absorbing about 14% of the GDP. This is clearly an inopportune time to promote a diagnostic technique at a seemingly staggering cost, for widespread public acceptance. This note addresses the question: must PET always be “big science”? (1) Our conclusion is simple: it needn’t be. With a realistic institutional self-perception, a hospital can chart a sensible course to contain the capital outlays and operating expenses for the in-house cyclotron, scanner and the oft-forgotten radiochemical facility that bridges production and the user. Only a few years ago, the target was to provide a $2 million PET center. Today, most new installations are requesting $5–10 million to start up from scratch, with promise of a three-year forgiveness before coming up to clinical speed. Staffing, service contracts and equipment amortization drive up the PET center’s operating budget toward a million dollars a year, necessitating thousands of thousand dollar scans per year to break even. No PET center in the world has even remotely approached this performance.


White Dwarf Service Contract Direct Fluorination Tracer Metabolite Standard Good Manufacturing Practice 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Nickles
    • 1
  • O. T. de Jesus
    • 1
  1. 1.Medical Physics DepartmentUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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