Stress-free scans are helping children with weak bones

10 July 2018

Elliot Mace is a regular visitor to Evelina London. He lives with a rare genetic condition that causes weak bones, meaning they are prone to breaking easily.

Elliot Mace, with mum Amy and technologist Ines Baeta, on the DEXA machine
Elliot Mace, with mum Amy and technologist Ines Baeta, on the DEXA machine

Elliot needs scans once a year, and is now benefitting from a new state-of-the-art machine at Evelina London which has been made possible thanks to donations.

Elliot’s story

Elliot was diagnosed with cystinosis, a rare genetic metabolic condition that weakens the bones, when he was 18 months old. He is an active 10-year-old, and sadly has suffered three wrist fractures in the last four years.

Elliot has regular appointments at Evelina London and requires a DEXA scan once a year. This scan is a quick and painless procedure that uses low dose X-rays to measure the density or strength of bones. The new machine at Evelina London means that Elliot no longer has to travel to use the adult DEXA scanning service, which is at Guy’s Hospital in a different location in London.

‘We often have more than one appointment when we visit the hospital so having the new scanner at Evelina London made a huge difference,’ says his mum, Amy. ‘We spent less time travelling and the whole experience seemed much more relaxing for Elliot.’

Fun and focus

Thanks to your generous donations, Evelina London now has the newest model of the DEXA scanner. It lives in a space-themed room which also has a ceiling hoist and an interactive entertainment system.

The new room is bright, colourful and includes two TV screens that show games in 2D or 3D, providing a welcome distraction for children. This little extra is especially helpful for our young patients who may be a little nervous, or who need something to encourage them to stay still.

‘Staying still for the scan can seem like a long time for a 10-year-old so the entertainment system was great at giving Elliot something to focus on,’ says Amy. ‘He’s very active so this is the longest I’ve seen him not move.’

The ceiling hoist makes things easier for children and their parents, particularly if the child has additional needs and uses a wheelchair.

Since installing the machine at the end of July 2018, more than 30 children have been scanned with it. Around 200 children a year are expected to benefit from the new equipment.

Dr Moira Cheung, consultant children's endocrinologist, says, ‘We can now offer a one-stop shop for our young patients, saving families from having to travel between hospital sites to attend their consultant appointments at Evelina London and improving the patient experience.’

It’s your generous support that makes Evelina London such a special place for children like Elliot. 

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