Daniel Birchall, David Hughes, Barbara Gregson, Brad Williamson


November 2004, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 123 - 129 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-004-0705-5

First Online: 25 November 2004

This study was designed to demonstrate and measure mechanical torsion in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis using three-dimensional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Ten patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis were imaged with three-dimensional MR imaging, and the data post-processed through multiplanar reconstruction to produce images angled through individual endplates. Transverse rotation was measured at each endplate and these measurements used to calculate the amount of vertebral and disc mechanical torsion present. A test object was imaged in order to validate the measurement technique. Mechanical torsion was demonstrated within the vertebral bodies and discs of the imaged subjects, with vertebral mechanical torsion contributing on average 45% of the overall transverse plane deformity. It is concluded that deformation occurs in the transverse plane within the vertebrae and discs of subjects with idiopathic scoliosis, and a significant proportion of the rotation present in the scoliotic spine occurs as a result of plastic deformation within the vertebrae themselves. We believe that this is the first systematic demonstration of mechanical torsion in idiopathic scoliosis.


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