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Title: Dynamic surface topography and its application to the evaluation of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
Author: Shannon, Thomas M. L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 6715
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2010
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Dynamic surface topography is a method to quantify the surface and locations of features acquired from moving and distorting shapes against time. This thesis describes the application of the technique to the potential evaluation of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients. Scoliosis or curvature of the spine is one of the major skeletal diseases in adolescents where in the majority of cases the cause is unknown or idiopathic. The progression of the disease occurs in three dimensions with the spine simultaneously curving towards the arms and rotating as it collapses with the first indications usually being changes in body symmetry and back surface shape. Following diagnosis, most children do not exhibit any significant worsening of their condition and are routinely monitored using radiography as frequently as every three months whilst vertebral growth potential remains. In a small number of patients, the lateral curvature can unpredictably worsen requiring, in some cases, surgical intervention to prevent further deterioration and to diminish the deformity. Earlier work by many researchers concentrated on attempting to reduce patient exposure to ionizing radiation by investigating if there was a reliable correlation between progression of the scoliosis and changes in surface topography. The techniques have not gained acceptance as the relational algorithms were found to be insufficiently robust in all cases and measurements acquired from available technologies were prone to artefacts introduced by stance, breathing, 'posture and sway. For many patients the motivation in seeking treatment is for the improvement of their appearance rather than to correct the underlying deformity, so cosmetic concerns and an understanding of the psychosocial and physical impacts of the disease and treatments remain important factors in the clinical decision-making process. In the current environment of evidence based medicine there is a growing need to quantify back surface shape, general body asymmetry and patient capability with the objective of producing an agreed scoring to be used in developing treatment plans and assessing outcomes but to date many clinics continue to rely on qualitative methods to describe cosmetic deformity and ability. The aim of the research was to develop an original, low cost and inherently safe apparatus using well understood video based motion capture technology that overcame the disadvantages of earlier work by simultaneously acquiring multiple samples of back surface shape and the locations of bony landmarks to provide averaged results for a quantitative and reliable analysis of cosmetic defect and physical impairment. 172,650 data samples were acquired from thirty skeletally mature subjects not exhibiting any musculoskeletal disease to define normality limits for Page 2 established morphological measurements and to compare the specificity of the approach with existing single sample techniques. Three novel calculations of back paraspinous volumetric asymmetry were tested of which two were found to be potentially useful clinical indicators of deformity and an index was proposed and tested using simulated data that could offer a single value to describe patient back shape asymmetry. Previous research has found that there is a loss of trunk ranges of motion among postoperative patients that has a direct impact on their quality of life, function and physical capability. Data were acquired from the mature subjects and similar results were observed when compared with published data for preoperative scoliosis patients. This thesis has shown that using averaged tri-dimensional morphological and back shape data combined with measurement of dynamic capability acquired using an inherently safe apparatus have the potential to be clinically useful. The opportunity to routinely and safely quantify the cosmetic defect and trunk ranges of motion of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients should stimulate more important research to help improve the quality of life of many affected children throughout the world.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available