Less radiation makes X-rays safer, especially for children

Sanford Health introduces lower-radiation, higher-quality EOSedge imaging

White and orange machine with "EOS" logo up the right side is ready for full-body, stand-up X-rays in an exam room.

When Sanford Health orthopedic surgeon Geoffrey Haft, M.D., has a conversation with the parents of a youngster dealing with scoliosis, he can now share how new imaging technology in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is making their child’s treatment safer.

The ability of doctors to use X-rays has undergone countless refinements since it was invented in 1895. The core technology remains, however, providing physicians an indispensable tool in diagnosis of patients more than a century later.

Though the benefits far outweigh the risks, one of an X-ray’s potential flaws is that it involves exposure to radiation, linked to an increased risk of cancer. The more X-rays a patient has, the greater the risk of long-term side-effects.

New X-ray tech

When treating something like scoliosis, a spinal condition that often warrants multiple X-rays over an extended period, Dr. Haft can explain the many advantages of EOSedge, an imaging system that uses dramatically less radiation.

“We have lots of children who get spine X-rays every six months for years on end,” Dr. Haft said. “With the new EOSedge system we have roughly 9% of the radiation of a normal X-ray. With the protocol we use on our scoliosis patients, it has 1/43rd the dose a standard X-ray would have.”

Doctors have long attempted to establish a balance between the need to obtain an image and the desire to minimize radiation. This is particularly true in the treatment of children.

“It takes away a lot of my concerns and that of parents when I can tell them we can essentially get 43 scoliosis X-rays for the price of one, in terms of radiation,” Dr. Haft said. “I don’t lose nearly as much sleep over giving children too many X-rays now. It totally changes the game.”

Reducing radiation is vital, but not the system’s only strength. Images produced are much higher quality and are more comprehensive than a standard X-ray.

The push to acquire an EOSedge system began with parents of children with scoliosis wondering about the possibility of making it available in Sioux Falls. Ultimately, it exists because Sanford listened and acted.

Benefits beyond kids

The benefits of that commitment to care go well beyond care of children.

Trauma specialists and joint replacement specialists now use the whole-body image capability for surgical planning. In the past, conventional X-rays need to be “stitched” together to provide physicians with the same information.

Proof of the system’s value can be measured by its popularity. A larger waiting room is being constructed at the Van Demark Building because it is being used continuously, Monday through Friday.

“It’s open to anyone who needs to order an X-ray, not just Sanford patients,” Dr. Haft said. “This is something that belongs to everyone in the region. It’s great for us because it’s safer for our patients and the imaging quality is better. In time, I think it will become standard. They will figure out how to miniaturize the technology and use it for X-rays across the board.”

Located at the Van Demark Building, the system is the only one of its kind in the area. It exists in part because of an investment from Sanford and the efforts of the Children’s Miracle Network.

“For people wondering where those dollars go when they donate to the Children’s Miracle Network, this is a great example,” Dr. Haft said. “It helps with just this kind of acquisition.”

Key points to remember

What is EOSedge imaging technology?

EOSedge is a precise, low dose imaging system that delivers full body, high-quality images covering the full set of musculoskeletal and orthopedic exams.

What makes EOSedge different from other imaging technology?

The radiation dose is dramatically reduced while also providing high-quality imaging. The EOSedge provides 3D weight-bearing images for an accurate view of the spine and lower limbs in a natural standing position. In addition, the open and accessible cabin design provides easy entry and positioning for children, seniors and other patients.

How can I get an EOSedge scan?

Primary care providers in the Sioux Falls area can refer adult and pediatric patients for spine and lower limb X-rays.

Learn more

Posted In Children's, Imaging, Orthopedics, Sioux Falls