D. Gignac, C.-É. Aubin, J. Dansereau, H. Labelle

June 2000, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 185 - 190 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s005860000135

First Online: 07 June 2000

Scoliosis is a complex three-dimensional deformity of the spine and rib cage frequently treated by brace. Although bracing produces significant correction in the frontal plane, it generally reduces the normal sagittal plane curvatures and has limited effect in the transverse plane. The goal of this study is to develop a new optimization approach using a finite element model of the spine and rib cage in order to find optimal correction patterns. The objective function to be minimized took account of coronal and sagittal offsets from a normal spine at the thoracic and lumbar apices as well as the rib hump. Two different optimization studies were performed using the finite element model, which was personalized to the geometry of 20 different scoliotic patients. The first study took into account only the thoracic deformity, while the second considered both the thoracic and lumbar deformities. The optimization produced an average of 56% and 51% reduction of the objective function respectively in the two studies. Optimal forces were mostly located on the convex side of the curve. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using an optimization approach with a finite element model of the trunk to analyze the biomechanics of bracing, and may be useful in the design of new and more effective braces.

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