How do you get a standing x-ray of someone who can’t stand? Well, the answer used to be a lot more complicated than it is now.
For a long time, staff would maneuver the patient as best they could. They supported the patient while standing (which isn’t ideal because it exposed the staff to unnecessary radiation), or they slid boards under their backs, taking the picture from behind. Most of the time, they had to try a couple of times before getting it right. It was time-consuming and uncomfortable for the patient.
Now, there’s something new. It’s a table that tilts upright, taking the patient from a flat-on-their-back position to a vertical one without them moving a muscle.
Here’s how it works: Staff transports a patient via bed or stretcher. Next they transfer the patient to this special standing table. The patient is strapped in at the knees, waist, and chest (all straps not shown in the video). The table tilts upward until the patient is “standing.” The x-ray technologist can now take pictures that are more accurate, cause little patient discomfort, and don’t expose staff to unnecessary radiation!
Anthony Calise, Chief X-Ray Technologist, told about one patient with a pelvic fracture. He had been through surgery and couldn’t bear weight on one leg. Without the standing table, getting him into an upright position would have been difficult. “Prior, we would have had him sit up in bed and you would just get what you could get,” said Calise. “Now you can sit them in the chair and get their spine vertical without bending them at the waist.”
The table is made of radiolucent material, meaning x-rays can see through it. In addition to taking patients from their back to a standing position, it can also easily take them to a sitting position. “It’s been a long time coming, and we hope to keep making progress,” Calise said.
The team has partnered with Sonesta Medical to test the radiolucent standing table at UVA and has also received great ideas from several UVA Biomedical Engineering students to further refine the table.