As my first blog entry beyond the Welcome, I want to start with something all scoliosis patients/parents need to know… Radiation exposure from x-rays is cumulative!
Scoliosis patients get lots of full torso x-rays. Depending on the doctor or situation, this is often 2 to 4 times per year for 3 years or more years.
Radiation exposure, should be minimized wherever possible and this is particularly important for girls for breast tissue and ovarian exposure.
First, try to avoid unnecessary x-rays. At one point, the girls were outgrowing their first braces and adjustments, if not new braces, were needed. The doctor suggested getting an in-brace x-ray before trying the adjustments, but we knew there’d be another x-ray required afterward and it was agreed that the x-ray was not needed to guide the orthotists with the adjustment, and we already had a recent out-of-brace x-ray, so we declined.
Second, I recommend finding your nearest EOS Imaging machine. This type of x-ray purportedly uses only about 1/8th to 1/10th as much radiation. That’s 8 to 10 x-rays for the radiological exposure “price” of 1 regular x-ray!
A few weeks ago we were in Fairfax, VA to get new braces (more on why we traveled from Cincinnati to Fairfax for braces in a later post.) We needed to get in-brace x-rays, in the new braces, then return to the orthotist for likely adjustments. Fortunately, we were able to contact the EOS people, at the link above, and they told us where to find the nearest EOS to Fairfax, which was in Wilmington, DE. It was a bit of a side trip, but well worth it.
In the absence of an EOS machine, I recommend requesting breast and pelvic/ovarian shielding for the x-rays. There is a risk with this, though. If the tech isn’t careful, they can obscure parts of the spine or pelvis that the doctor needs to see, which could result in the need to re-do the x-ray… the last thing you want. Talk to the doctor and technician first.
Disclaimer: I am not, in any way, medically trained and you should seek professional medical advice before making any decisions based on information found here.