Axial suspension test to assess pre-operative spinal flexibility in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Büchler, Philippe; Elias de Oliveira, Marcelo; Studer, Daniel; Schumann, Steffen; Zheng, Guoyan; Schneider, Jacques; Hasler, Carol C (2014). Axial suspension test to assess pre-operative spinal flexibility in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. European spine journal, 23(12), pp. 2619-2625. Springer 10.1007/s00586-014-3386-8

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INTRODUCTION An accurate description of the biomechanical behavior of the spine is crucial for the planning of scoliotic surgical correction as well as for the understanding of degenerative spine disorders. The current clinical assessments of spinal mechanics such as side-bending or fulcrum-bending tests rely on the displacement of the spine observed during motion of the patient. Since these tests focused solely on the spinal kinematics without considering mechanical loads, no quantification of the mechanical flexibility of the spine can be provided. METHODS A spinal suspension test (SST) has been developed to simultaneously monitor the force applied on the spine and the induced vertebral displacements. The system relies on cervical elevation of the patient and orthogonal radiographic images are used to measure the position of the vertebras. The system has been used to quantify the spinal flexibility on five AIS patients. RESULTS Based on the SST, the overall spinal flexibility varied between 0.3 °/Nm for the patient with the stiffer curve and 2 °/Nm for the less rigid curve. A linear correlation was observed between the overall spinal flexibility and the change in Cobb angle. In addition, the segmental flexibility calculated for five segments around the apex was 0.13 ± 0.07 °/Nm, which is similar to intra-operative stiffness measurements previously published. CONCLUSIONS In summary, the SST seems suitable to provide pre-operative information on the complex functional behavior and stiffness of spinal segments under physiological loading conditions. Such tools will become increasingly important in the future due to the ever-increasing complexity of the surgical instrumentation and procedures.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute for Surgical Technology & Biomechanics ISTB [discontinued]

UniBE Contributor:

Büchler, Philippe; Elias de Oliveira, Marcelo; Schumann, Steffen and Zheng, Guoyan


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Philippe Büchler

Date Deposited:

17 Dec 2014 14:41

Last Modified:

11 Nov 2015 13:52

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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