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Having an EOS scan

What is an EOS?

The EOS scanner is a special piece of X-ray equipment that takes images of you while you are stood up. This means your bones can be imaged while you are in your usual posture, instead of lying down.

The EOS scanner can take much larger pictures than normal X-ray cameras which makes it ideal for imaging the whole of your spine or legs in one picture. Unlike regular X-ray equipment, the EOS scanner can take a picture of you from the front and from the side at the same time, and it can also create 3D models of your bones. The scanner looks like a square cubicle.

EOS scans are done by members of staff called radiographers.

What is the EOS scanner used for?

The EOS scanner is used for looking at the alignment of your spine or your legs. It is occasionally used to take a picture of the whole of your body. These scans can help with number of reasons including:

  • to diagnose problems
  • to help plan a treatment
  • to monitor your progress
  • in preparation for a surgical procedure
  • as as follow-up from a surgical procedure

What happens before the procedure?

You may be asked to change into a hospital gown to make sure that your clothing does not show up on the picture. The room that the scanner in is quite small so you if you would like someone to accompany you for the scan, you can only bring one parent or carer with you.

Depending on how old you are, you might also be asked if you have started your period and when the date of your last period was. This is to make sure there is no harm to a foetus if there might be a chance you could be pregnant.

What happens during the procedure?

You will be asked to stand in the middle of the scanner cubicle and look at yourself in a mirror on the wall. A laser light will shine onto you, and you will need to stand so it is going down the middle of your body. The radiographer might feel for the top of your hips.

If the picture is of your legs, you might have to stand with one foot on a sponge block to make sure both of your hips are aligned, and the radiographer will ask you to turn your feet to make sure your kneecaps are pointing straight towards the camera. They will also place a small metal ball between your knees.

Do I have to stay still?

You will need to keep very still for the scan.

The radiographer will show you where to place your hands on the wall of the cubicle so you keep steady. A handle can be brought down for you to hold on to.

What will it be like?

When the images are being taken, equipment inside the walls of the cubicle will move up and down the length of your body a few times.

You will be able to hear the equipment moving but you will not be able to see it, and it nothing will touch you. Like having an X-ray, you will not feel anything and the procedure does not hurt. The scan only takes a couple of minutes.

Are there any alternatives?

If you are unable to stand, or if you struggle to stand still, you might have to have a regular X-ray taken instead of the EOS scan.

How do I get the results?

After you have the scan, you will usually be going straight back to see the doctor who requested the scan and they will be able to discuss the results with you. If you are not seeing your doctor after the scan, you will receive the results at your next appointment.

Are there any risks?

Although the scanner does use radiation, the amount that you will be exposed to is kept as low as possible. The amount of radiation you will get is much lower than the amount of radiation you would receive from an X-ray, and it is not large enough to pose a significant risk to you.

If you have any questions, please telephone 0114 271 7389 and ask to speak to a radiographer.

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Please note this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s. The details in this resource may not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If you have specific questions about how this resource relates to your child, please ask your doctor.

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Radiology Department

Sheffield Children’s Hospital

Western Bank

S10 2TH

0114 271 7389


Western Bank
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

Interesting Facts

We’ve got a special MRI scanner just for teddies so children can see what it’s like before they have a scan.

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