Spine doctors at University of Colorado Hospital are making more accurate decisions about surgery than ever thanks to a new piece of imaging technology called EOS.

The 3D scans allow doctors to create a more individualized surgery and even order custom rods to insert during surgery with the hope of creating long term posture correction and pain relief.

Prior to this technology many surgeons would use several different x-ray images, taken with higher levels of radiation, and then stitch them together to plan for a surgery.

By getting one 3D image of the patient standing they can get a better idea of how people overcompensate for certain back injuries in their everyday posture.

“It’s not like you are going into see a patients back for the first time. You get to see it through the EOS’ eyes with this 3D manipulation,” said Christopher Kleck, M.D., surgeon at UCHealth. “In the long run it means I am creating less deformity, I am treating patients appropriately. For the patients it means less surgery, less radiation.”

Doctors then take the images and plan a specific surgery, ordering customizable rods that address a patient’s specific problem. A team did just that for Shelia Seal this week. She suffers from scoliosis and returned to the woman who did her original surgery 13 years ago, Dr. Evalina Burger, now working for UCHealth.

“I am looking forward to tomorrow. Because I know the minute they make that incision, I’ll be recovering," Seal said.

These rods, customized using the 3D EOS image, speed up surgery because technicians and surgeons don’t have to shape and customize in the operating room.

“We get the benefit of being able to plan our surgeries much better. We see the deformities that might be in a patient’s spine, we can see the corrections we need to make,” said Chief of Orthopedic Spine Surgery, Vik Patel, MD. “We can plan that surgery ahead of time so that in the operating room we can reduce operating time and we can get closer to our planned surgery right from the beginning as opposed to multiple steps.”

Patients often see a noticeable difference the day after surgery.