Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago offers state-of-the-art imaging for patients thanks to a recent $1.5-million-dollar upgrade to our radiology technology. The new technology, funded entirely by donations, will benefit the 95 percent of our hospital patients who receive imaging studies during their care at our specialty orthopaedic hospital.
Introducing the EOS low dose X-ray system
The Shriners Chicago Hospital is the first children’s hospital in Illinois to offer the low dose EOS technology for patients. EOS is a low radiation dual X-ray system that allows doctors to see front and side images of the patient in a sitting or standing position. It is used particularly for the spine, hips and legs, so called ‘long bone’ areas. Some studies have shown that EOS exposes patients to 50 percent less radiation compared to a DR system and up to 85 percent less compared to a CR system. “It is a dramatic reduction in the radiation dose, which is especially important for children who will need multiple X-rays during their treatment,” Jeffrey Ackman, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago said. This is a particularly important for patients with scoliosis or long bone deformities who can require more than 20 total imaging studies over the course of their treatment. In fact, 70 percent of our hospital patients with spinal conditions are now receiving their imaging through the EOS system. “And for any child, we’re trying to be cognizant of his/her lifetime radiation exposure,” Dr. Ackman said.
Another advantage is EOS’ ability to provide weight-bearing images, which allow doctors to see a child’s spine and limbs in a natural standing position. This may help them better evaluate balance and posture, and how the bones, joints and ligaments interact. “The EOS has been a great improvement in the care of children with leg length differences and angular deformities like bowing,” Peter Smith, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago said. “We can get an accurate picture of what is going on as we follow the children through observation or treatment.”
How EOS works
A child stands or sits in the high-tech EOS booth for approximately 10 seconds while the X-ray is taken. Red and green lights show the machine’s progress.
EOS and the new EOS suite was made possible by a generous $500,000 donation from Martha and Owen Ballreich, along with the Saladin Shrine Children’s Foundation and FJK Private Foundation.
New DRF X-ray also added
Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago has also added a new digital radiographic/fluoroscopic (DRF) room in 2017. This also uses much less radiation than traditional X-ray machines. And the flouroscopic X-ray allows physicians to see 'live" into a child’s body. This is particularly helpful for some of our urology patient procedures.
Our radiology team has also made efforts to reduce the dose in our regular X-ray room. “We’re finding we can use even lower doses than recommended and still obtain diagnostic quality imaging,” Tracy O'Brien, RTR, director of radiology said. Adding the EOS, DRF and reducing radiation exposure are part of Shriners Hospitals commitment to the Image Gently campaign supported by many national pediatric radiology groups, to provide radiation As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA), to protect young patients’ future health.
New bone density scanner
In addition to EOS and DRF, another new machine in the radiology area is the Hologic DXA scanner, installed in December 2016. This top-of-the-line bone density scanner is used for patients with osteogenesis imperfecta, spinal cord injuries and other conditions which may result in lower bone density. This provides lower dose radiation and faster images. The machine has patients lie down on the table and the X-ray “C arm” moves to obtain the images. It allows doctors and nutritionists to compare bone density and body fat composition with children nationwide who may have similar conditions, for use in evaluation and treatment.