Gravity-induced torque and intravertebral rotation in idiopathic scoliosis

Adam, Clayton J., Askin, Geoffrey N., & Pearcy, Mark J. (2008) Gravity-induced torque and intravertebral rotation in idiopathic scoliosis. Spine: an international journal for the study of the spine, 33(2), E30-E37.

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Study Design. Biomechanical analysis.

Objective. To investigate the relationship between gravity-induced torques acting on the scoliotic spine and rotation within the vertebrae.

Summary of Background Data. Vertebral rotation is an important aspect of spinal deformity in idiopathic scoliosis, associated with ribcage asymmetry. Although both lateral curvature and rotation seem to increase together in progressive scoliosis, the mechanisms driving vertebral rotation are not clearly established and it is not known whether lateral curvature precedes rotation, or vice versa.

Methods. Three-dimensional spinal curvature was measured for a small group of idiopathic scoliosis patients using standing radiographs, and equations of static equilibrium were used to calculate gravity-induced torque profiles along the length of each spine because of head, neck, and torso weight. Vertebral rotations were then measured for the same patients using Aaro and Dahlborn's technique with reformatted computed tomography images. The gravity-induced torque curves were compared with rotation measurements to see whether gravity-induced torque is a likely contributor to intravertebral rotation in scoliosis.

Results. Gravity-induced torques as high as 7.5 Nm act on the spines of idiopathic scoliosis patients because of body weight in the standing position, and maximum intravertebral rotations (for a single vertebra) are approximately 4 degrees. There is a statistically significant relationship between gravity-induced torque and intravertebral rotation in the scoliotic spine.

Conclusion. Gravity-induced torque is a likely cause of intravertebral rotation in progressive idiopathic scoliosis. Because the spine must be curved in 3-dimensions (out of plane) to produce such torques, vertebral rotation would be expected to occur subsequent to an initial lateral deviation, suggesting that lateral curvature precedes vertebral rotation in progressive idiopathic scoliosis.

Impact and interest:

11 citations in Scopus
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10 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 13659
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Spinal deformity, idiopathic scoliosis, vertebral rotation, gravity, induced torque
DOI: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e318160460f
ISSN: 0362-2436
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (090300) > Biomechanical Engineering (090302)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins
Copyright Statement: This is the author-version of the work. The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, < Spine 33(2):E30-E37. 2008 © < Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Deposited On: 03 Jun 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:44

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