Northside Hospital-Forsyth has received a certificate of need to set up a mobile PET/CT scanner.
The unit, which would be used in the diagnosing and staging of cancer, is a necessary tool for physicians, said Russ Davis, hospital spokesman.
"It also helps give a good image to help the physician map out the best course of treatment for the cancer the patient has," he said.
Approved through the Georgia Department of Community Health, a certificate of need is required for health systems seeking to add new medical services.
The process is lengthy, but ultimately helps avoid duplication of expensive services and evenly distribute medical care across Georgia.
The $343,640 PET/CT unit could open as soon as spring on the local hospital campus. It will be the first in Forsyth County, and the only one in a 20-mile radius, Davis said.
In 2007, about 350 Forsyth patients had to seek service at the hospital's main campus in Atlanta, he said.
The PET/CT scanner is part of the hospital's effort to increase services for cancer patients. Davis said the hospital could run nearly 570 scans a year by 2013.