The Children’s Hospital Charity officially launched the EOS scanner - which is only the second of its kind in the UK - during an event on Wednesday attended by leading clinicians, members of Sheffield Children’s Hospital, patients and patrons of the charities whose donations funded the machine.
Based on a Nobel prize-winning invention, the system provides an ultra-low dose, two dimensional and three dimensional x-ray and will hugely improve the diagnosis and treatment of orthopaedic patients.
It also allows the patient to sit or stand, providing a complete head-to-toe image in 15 seconds or less.
It will also offer others benefits to patients such as ensuring an 80 per cent reduction in x-ray exposure, reduced waiting times and improved image quality for more accurate assessments and surgical planning.
This will enhance the already world-leading spinal service at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, which last year become the first in Europe to perform ground-breaking ‘trolley’ surgery to correct a spine curvature.
Costing £380,000, it was made possible thanks to a £280,000 donation from the Morrisons Foundation – a charity set up by the supermarket chain – and other large donations from The University of Sheffield and David and Jean Fyfe’s 2018 Daffodil Ball held in aid of The Children’s Hospital Charity.
The new equipment will particularly aid patients requiring limb and spine curvature examinations, and the reduction in radiation exposure will help those requiring regular scans, such as scoliosis spine patients, and is even suitable for very small children.
One patient who has already benefited from the scan is 15-year-old Philippa Walker, from Worksop, who was diagnosed with scoliosis in June 2015 after her mum noticed a lump on her back during a breathing exercise in a singing lesson.
Scoliosis is much more common in those aged 65 and over, with only three or four known cases for every thousand children in the UK.
Philippa began treatment with the specialist team at Sheffield Children’s Hospital in October that year, and was fitted with a back brace to prevent further curvature of the spine while she continued to grow.
She wore the brace for 20 hours a day over the next three years, with her long-term ambition to become an opera singer and perform wearing a backless dress proving motivation to persist with the device.
However, the care she received at Sheffield Children’s Hospital stopped her condition worsening, and also substantially reversed the curvature without the need for surgery.
She now only attends appointments every six months at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and in October, she became one of the first to use the new EOS scanner.
She is now raising money as a thank you to The Children’s Hospital Charity, having raised more than £300 so far.
Ashley Cole, a spinal surgeon at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, said: “For Sheffield Children’s Hospital it will mean an advance in x-rays and a lower dose for patients.
“X-rays are not dangerous in small numbers but a lot of our patients have much larger numbers of x-rays to for their problems both with the spine and with their legs, and we need to x-ray them regularly so the doses mount up – the lower the dose the better.”
John Somers, chief executive of Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are incredibly grateful to the people who support our work here at Sheffield Children’s. With the latest equipment and donor-funded facilities, we can go even further to help children both locally and nationally.
“The new EOS scanner will be part of our world-leading spinal service and will allow us to do even more to help children like Philippa.”