Avera Medical Minute: New technology offers lower radiation x-ray option for patients

Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 10:28 PM CDT|Updated: Feb. 27, 2023 at 10:26 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Cora Donahue experiences pain unlike most children her age.

“When I’m playing tag sometimes my back will ache because I’m running so much,” she said.

That’s because Cora’s spine has an unnatural curve. “We found out that Cora had scoliosis at her last checkup with her regular doctor,” said Becky Donahue, Cora’s mom. Cora has been in for a few checkups on her spine, which often require x-ray imaging.

That process, with the traditional x-ray, is a little scary for her. “The second or first time I took my pictures I was a little scared because I had to hold my breath. Which I didn’t like,” said Cora.

Becky said it didn’t help that she couldn’t be in the room as her daughter underwent the procedure.

“So for her to have to stand there and hold her breath in a dark room, it was scary. And it was because of the radiation I couldn’t be in there,” said Becky.

Thanks to a significant investment by Avera Health into new x-ray technology, the process has become a lot easier and a lot less scary for Cora.

Avera McKennan’s orthopedic clinic is now offering patients an EOS Low-Dose X-ray option.

“What makes it unique is the EOS machine allows us to take x-rays of adults and children using one-tenth of the normal radiation that an x-ray would take,” said Dr. Geoffrey Haft, an Avera orthopedic surgeon.

“Plus I didn’t have to hold my breath, which was good,” Cora added.

The process is also a lot quicker and because of the lower amount of radiation, Cora’s mom can be there too.

“This time it seemed very simple, Cora could just walk in and the measuring guide helped them make it quick and painless for her to just get it done,” said Becky.

The new machine also has another big perk.

“The safety thing is number one,” said Dr. Haft. “But interestingly we use 10 percent of the radiation dose and get crisper, high-definition x-ray images. So we use less radiation and we get much better imaging.”

The machine can also take a single image from head to toe, in one shot.

Those in the industry say the EOS Low-Dose machine is the next generation of x-ray imaging.

“It’s becoming standard of care basically across the nation because of these patients needing serial x-rays over a number of years. And the accumulated dose from that,” said Chris Watt, a Certified Physician Assistant at Avera.

More information on x-ray imaging and the EOS Low-Dose X-ray can be found by visiting www.Avera.org/MedicalMinute