Sara Lacy gets her picture taken often. She always has.
There are loads of family photos, of course, but there has been plenty of medical imaging for Sara, too. Born with hip dysplasia, doctors at Batson Children's Hospital later discovered she had developed scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that must be checked with X-rays at nearly every clinic visit.
Over time, the exposure to radiation from those X-rays can add up, giving patients a higher risk of cancer later in life.
Children's of Mississippi has seen that amount of radiation drop to just 20 percent of a normal X-ray through the purchase of an EOS imaging system with funding from Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. The radiation emitted by the EOS system is a 20th of the radiation of one CT scan.
EOS, the only system of its kind in Mississippi, takes three-dimensional images of patients while they are standing or sitting, giving physicians a clearer picture of a patient's condition while keeping the patient comfortable.
“It increases the quality of images while exposing the patient to a fraction of the radiation,” said Dr. Wade Shrader, professor and chief of pediatric orthopaedic surgery at UMMC.
The reduction in radiation is particularly advantageous for scoliosis patients, who have frequent X-rays in the torso area. “Since scoliosis occurs more often in adolescent females, and they are X-rayed in the chest and abdominal area, you do worry about overexposure to radiation in breast tissue and the ovarian area. EOS is a big game-changer in that regard.”
“Over time, I do worry about the effect of radiation on her,” said Sara Lacy's mother, Patricia Lacy, “so we are really happy Children's of Mississippi made this purchase.”
EOS uses two fine X-ray beams that are capable of creating, simultaneously, front and side images of a patient's body. In less than 20 seconds, the system can capture an image of the entire spine. For Children's of Mississippi, having the additional imaging system has also shortened wait times for families in the pediatric orthopaedic clinic at the University Physicians Pavilion.
The EOS imaging system emits a fifth of the radiation of a standard X-ray machine.
Sara Lacy, 10, is happy with shorter visits, as she and her mom enjoy lunch out after doctor's appointments. Her favorite menu choice? “Loaded potato soup,” she said.
Because patients with spine, hip or limb deformities can be X-rayed with the EOS system while upright, radiographers and physicians can get a clearer picture of a patient's bone structure when bearing weight. Its three-dimensional imaging capabilities make the system ideal for planning spinal and limb surgeries, Shrader said.
The availability of the system is also an upgrade for area pediatricians, as they can access EOS through referring patients for imaging.
“Providing state-of-the-art equipment that makes a dramatic difference not only for our physicians in diagnosing and treating medical conditions but for our patients' comfort today and their health in the future,” said Guy Giesecke, CEO of Children's of Mississippi. “Purchasing the EOS system adds technology that puts our care among the best children's hospitals in America.”
Children's Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals, including Batson Children's Hospital and its parent organization, Children's of Mississippi. Donations stay local to fund critical treatments and health care services, charitable care and purchases of medical equipment.
“The money raised through Children's Miracle Network Hospitals campaigns and sponsors is meant to be used for things like the EOS system,” said Jen Hospodor, manager of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and Community Based Fundraising at UMMC. “That machine is the best, the latest and greatest and our patients deserve that level of care. It's a perfect example of why the unrestricted dollars raised through CMN Hospitals are so important. When there is a need, we can meet it; where there is a void, we can fill it, all thanks to those donations from our community.”