Around 12 months ago, The Children’s Hospital Charity launched the EOS X-ray scanner at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Only the second of its kind available to children in the UK, the scanner provides an ultra-low dose 2D and 3D digital X-ray, with improved image quality to aid assessment and surgical planning.
Specialists at Sheffield Children’s Hospital use a new micro-dose method, reducing radiation exposure compared to conventional x-rays by more than 90%, with a full head-to-toe image provided in 15 seconds or less.
As a result, the EOS scanner has become standard practice when examining children looked after by the spinal team.
For patients with long-term conditions which require regular monitoring such as scoliosis, the benefits of the new low-dose scanner can be life-changing.
Consultant spinal surgeon Lee Breakwell said: “For a child with scoliosis, it’s quite possible that they could have around 40 x-rays over the course of their childhood and we can diagnose the condition in patients as young as three years old.
"We know that there is a small risk of radiation exposure causing problems in later life, so any reduction is welcome and with EOS the reduction is certainly significant.
"It’s also a much more pleasant experience for the patient.
“A huge thank you to everyone who made this possible.
"This has made a huge difference to the patient experience and to safety in terms of radiation dose.
"The image quality is also so much clearer, which allows us to diagnose and treat patients more confidently."
The equipment cost £380,000 and was supported by a £280,000 donation from the Morrisons Foundation, a charity set up by the supermarket, as well as large donations from the University of Sheffield and David and Jean Fyfe’s 2018 Daffodil Ball in aid of The Children’s Hospital Charity.
The scanner will also have a wide-reaching and long-lasting impact.
The Spinal Service at Sheffield Children’s is world-leading, seeing more than 3,000 patients a year and accepting referrals from all over the UK and Ireland.
Its typical catchment area extends from the Pennines to Huddersfield and Hull, seeing children from an area with a population of more than 5 million people.
Ashley Cole, Consultant Spinal Surgeon at Sheffield Children’s Hospital added: “The Children’s Hospital Charity help us go above and beyond the NHS provision. The EOS scanner helps us provide patients with an improved experience and helps to diagnose conditions more quickly, making a real difference over a long period of time.
“I expect that we will be able to use it at least for the next 20 years, which is fantastic for patients who rely on our service from a young age.
"We’re delighted with the difference it has made to our work every day and we’re only just starting to realise its potential in terms of advancing research.”
David Vernon-Edwards, Director of The Children’s Hospital Charity continued: “We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who helped make this state-of-the-art equipment available for our young patients, enhancing the world-leading spinal service here at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
“To find out those helped now number in the thousands and that our clinicians have helped reduce radiation levels to less than a tenth of the previous scans is testament to both the specialist care at our hospital and the difference your donations can make to children, locally and nationally, every day.”