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Health Check Kids: X-rays and EOS treatment

Health Check Kids: X-rays and EOS treatment. (WJAR)

For children who require frequent X-rays, less is more.

That’s why University Orthopedics has invested in an ultra-low dose imaging machine, known as EOS.

Zachary Durant, 9, of Carver, Massachusetts, was the first to benefit from it.

"When Zachary was born, a couple of the bones in his lower spine didn't form normally," said Dr. Craig Eberson, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at University Orthopedics, who has been with Zachary since day one.

The process of diagnosing and monitoring his scoliosis has meant Zachary has been exposed to a lot of radiation.

"His first year, he probably had five or six X-rays, plus the CT scan, and then every year is a little bit less visits, a little bit less X-rays that he needs, but still accumulative. And that's huge,” said Jennifer Durant, Zachary’s mother.

That exposure huge, indeed.

"A CT scan, in some cases, is like getting about 30 X-rays at once in terms of radiation, which is not a small amount of radiation," said Eberson. "A lot of kids like Zachary who've had X-rays essentially their whole life really are subjected to a lot of radiation and the more we see studies coming out, the more we worry that this radiation isn't necessarily benign."

The children are at higher risk of developing different types of cancer, later in life, said Eberson.

But now, there's the EOS machine

"It's a specific type of X-ray machine that uses very low radiation to generate very high quality images,” said Eberson.

And it's quick.

"It took about maybe five seconds and they had the whole scan,” said Jennifer. “He just has to stand still, put his arms up and that was it."

"That cuts the radiation down to about five percent of what a CT scan would bring," said Eberson.

"It's nerve-wracking to have a kid that needs that much all the time, so now they have this type of machine, minimal radiation and that's great," said Jennifer.

Zachary just thinks it’s cool and is staying focused on what he wants to be when he grows up.

"I want to be a football player,” he smiled.

Zachary isn't a candidate for a brace because his bones were not properly formed before he was born, so he could need surgery down the road. The EOS imaging will help track how he’s doing.

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