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Care, innovation, education and research

news item Wednesday, July 17, 2019 Monday, July 15, 2019 10:57 AM - Monday, July 15, 2019 10:57 AM

Innovative imaging technology provides 3D assessment for scoliosis

Despite the skeletal system being a 3D structure, physicians often use 2D imaging technologies like X-ray to assess patients in an upright position to help diagnose the cause of pain and discomfort. For scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine, there is an exciting technology that plays a key role in our ability to care for patients. It’s called the EOS® system, a low dose imaging system that allows for accurate evaluation and treatment planning of skeletal conditions using upright 3D models.

Patient with technician preparing for EOS examShriners Hospitals for Children is committed to providing safe and innovative solutions to our patients. As an example of our commitment, Shriners Hospitals offers the EOS system at a number of our locations. We are proud to set the standard by offering our patients the latest advancements in radiology that aim to improve scoliosis care with accurate 3D modeling.

The EOS system works by capturing two radiographic images that are used to create an accurate 3D model of the spine, or, if desired, the complete skeletal system. Because the spine is a 3D structure, viewing the spine in 3D can provide our physicians with an accurate representation of the curve, improving on traditional 2D measurements that can underestimate certain values that are used to diagnose, monitor progression and guide treatment. The Scoliosis Research Society states, “EOS has revolutionized the assessment of scoliosis (adolescent idiopathic scoliosis).”1

EOS images and 3D models are generated in a standing position, different from other 3D imaging technologies, which allows the surgeon to understand the forces that apply pressure to the spine and contribute to the condition. Most patient reported pain metrics are captured in a standing position. Evaluating upright 3D measurements allows the physician to understand the weight-bearing impact to guide treatment and planning.1

While surgery is never the first option for scoliosis, when needed, medical imaging plays an important role in surgical planning. For a scoliosis operation, there are goals and targets that make surgery a success. As such, the EOS system has an associated surgical planning software that allows the surgeon to virtually simulate different scenarios to correct the spinal curve. EOS surgical planning uses a precise 3D model of the spine to see how much correction can be achieved. By doing this, the surgeon can understand the patient’s spinal alignment and determine an individualized treatment plan.

The EOS system is ideal at capturing full spine and full body, weight-bearing images and is considered the standard of care in pediatric spinal deformity imaging. Patients may find the experience fast and comfortable, as well as safe due to a reduction in radiation exposure compared to traditional X-ray systems, an important factor for scoliosis patients who undergo frequent monitoring exams.

At Shriners Hospitals for Children, patient safety and innovation are at the core of what we do. Many of the children we treat are diagnosed with scoliosis and we aim to provide the latest medical imaging technology to improve patient care. We're proud to offer the EOS system at a number of our locations, which provides surgeons with accurate data to make the best clinical decisions for our patients.


1. Smith, J, Shaffrey, C, Bess, S, et al, Recent and Emerging Advances in Spinal Deformity, Neurosurgery, Volume 80, Issue 3S, March 2017, Pages S70–S85, Published: 21 February 2017