It’s important for hospitals or surgery practices to have the most high-tech supplies and technologies. Sometimes the best, most high-tech supply you can have at your practice is one that has been around long enough to prove effective. The Pigg-o-stat has been around for decades and has proved effective in keeping pediatric patients immobile during surgeries. Here’s how to use a Pigg-o-stat.
What is a Pigg-o-stat?
A Pigg-o-stat is a pediatric immobilizer. While this might sound intense, it simply means that it keeps children still during procedures and X-rays. Think of the average infant or child: Chances are, you’re picturing a big bundle of joy that has a bad habit of squirming at all the wrong times. Now, if you’ve had an X-ray recently, you probably remember the one instruction the technician gives you during every shot: Stay as still as you possibly can. When you move during an X-ray, it can impact the shot and increase the chance that there will need to be retakes.
This is problematic for X-ray technicians because of the radiation involved. While it’s perfectly harmless when it’s a result of infrequent exposure, say, during an X-ray, the technician is exposed to the radiation far more frequently. That’s where the pediatric immobilizer comes into play. While most adults are able to stand still enough for their X-rays without an immobilizer, technicians would have to hold or position children correctly for as many tries as it takes to get a proper pediatric X-ray. Naturally, this poses a bit of a health and safety risk for X-ray techs. With an immobilizer like the Pigg-o-stat, the child is kept comfortably in place and held still enough to produce a clear shot without the need for countless retakes.
Using a Pigg-o-stat
Luckily, for any parents panicked by the idea of immobilizing their child, they won’t be the ones operating the device. However, they will want to be on hand to remove the child’s clothing — save for the diaper. The technician will then sit the child on the seat of the device and may request an assistant’s help in positioning their arms correctly. Usually, their arms will be straight upwards, touching their ears and the sides of their head. Once the child is immobile, they will be fastened in place and comfortably strapped in.
While a Pigg-o-stat might seem a little too snug, it’s only recommended for use on appropriately sized children. Often, this is at the technician’s discretion but most commonly, pediatric immobilization is used between 12 and 18 months of age. Once the child is secure, the height of the device will be adjusted and the X-ray technician will begin collecting the required images. Instead of the tech spending the majority of the time trying to adjust a squirmy child, the X-ray process goes almost as quickly as it would for an adult. In essence, the Pigg-o-stat seems a lot more intimidating than it truly is. Plus, it’s very durable and is rigorously tested by the manufacturer to put parents at ease during the X-ray process.
While not every child will require X-rays at such a young age, it does happen that a pediatrician might recommend or need them. This could be for a variety of reasons, including monitoring healthy growth, checking for any defects, and scanning for potential illnesses. Regardless of the child’s need for an X-ray, it’s important to maintain sensitivity during the imaging process. New parents have plenty enough to worry about as it is, and the X-ray process should ideally just be another blip on the parenting radar.