Mary Beth Lobrano, MDDoctor of Medicine: Tulane University School of Medicine
Residency in Radiology: Louisiana State University Medical Center
Advanced Certification: Certified, American Board of Radiology
Specialty: Breast Imaging/PET CT

Mary Beth Lobrano, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, moved to New Orleans in 1990 to attend Tulane Medical School. In 1998, she completed a diagnostic radiology residency at LSU, most of which took place in Charity Hospital. "Charity was an amazing place to learn and gain experience," states Lobrano, who laments the closure of the famous hospital. She spent two years teaching at LSU after finishing her residency, then moved to private practice, arriving at EJGH in the spring of 2000. Her interest in PET/CT dates back to 2002, when the first non-mobile PET/CT scanner in the state was installed at EJ. "Over the past 10 years, PET/CT has changed the way we image cancer patients, and it's changed the way we treat cancer patients," Lobrano notes. "The metabolic information from PET/CT allows us to determine if a certain treatment is effective, so that ineffective treatments can be stopped earlier, and new therapy initiated."

Denise Whelan and Ted VazWhen the PET Fusion Center of East Jefferson General Hospital opened in 2002, Ted Vaz RT( N) was the first technologist in the state to operate a fixed PET/CT scanner. Soon joined by Denise Whelan RT (N), the two technologists now have performed well over 8000 PET/CT scans. The dynamic, humorous team are well-known amongst patients and staff, and form the backbone of the PET Fusion Center. Their concern for patients and attention to detail is reflected in the high quality of their work.

PETAvailable at the EJGH PET Fusion Center since 2010, the "PET bone scan" fuses PET images obtained with F-18 NaF, a tracer with high bone uptake, with CT bone windows to produce a 3D bone scan. Advantages compared to traditional nuclear medicine (Tc-99m MDP) bone scans include:

  • increased sensitivity for metastatic disease to bone
  • shorter exam time
  • higher quality images due to increased SNR
  • multiplanar images
  • improved diagnostic accuracy through fusion with CT bone windows

To schedule an exam, contact Lori Chauvin at 883-8995.

As the first provider of PET/CT in the region, East Jefferson General Hospital demonstrated its commitment to offering the most up-to-date cancer imaging technology. The recent acquisition of the GE Discovery 690 PET/CT with Time of Flight reiterates the hospital's commitment to remaining on the forefront of molecular imaging.

The new scanner features many advances compared to older generation scanners. "PET/CT couples a PET scanner and a CT scanner in the same gantry; both the PET and CT components of the Discovery 690 produce higher resolution images with lower radiation dose compared to older models," explains radiologist Dr. Puneet Singha. The PET portion of the scanner incorporates 24 rings of lutetium-based crystals (instead of the traditional BGO crystals) coupled to high-speed photomultiplier tubes, increasing count rate and boosting signal to noise ratios. This enables higher quality images to be obtained with lower tracer dose and quicker scan times, improving patient comfort and decreasing radiation dose. "Scan times have been reduced significantly," notes PET/CT technologist Denise Whelan. "Many of our patients are very ill, and it's difficult for them to lie on the scanner table for extended periods of time, so this is a significant improvement for them."

Mary Jane CursonMary Jane Curson has devoted 39 years of her life to radiology, 16 of those at EJGH. After graduating from the Indiana University School of Radiology in 1973, Mary Jane gained experience in mammography, CT and special procedures, as well as x-ray. She has been working in a supervisory capacity for the past 15 years; her duties at EJ include supervising CT. "When I first entered the field of radiology, I would never have imagined the advances in technology we have today. I am so pleased to be a part of this new CT technology that is available only at EJGH," states Curson.