D. J. Wever, A. G. Veldhuizen, J. P. Klein, P. J. Webb, G. Nijenbanning, J. C. Cool, J. R. v. Horn

August 1999, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 252 - 260 Original article Read Full Article 10.1007/s005860050169

First Online: 05 August 1999

Although the structural changes occurring in the scoliotic spine have been reported as early as the 19th century, the descriptions and biomechanical explanations have not always been complete and consistent. In this study, three-dimensionally rendered CT images of two human skeletons with a scoliotic deformity and two patients with serious scoliosis were used to describe the intrinsic vertebral and rib deformities. The pattern of structural deformities was found to be consistent. Apart from the wedge deformation of the apical vertebrae, a rotation deformity was found in the transversal plane between the vertebral body and the posterior complex: the vertebral body was maximally rotated towards the convexity of the scoliotic curve, whereas the tip of the spinous process was pointed to posterior. The rib deformities at the convex side of the scoliotic curve showed an increased angulation of the rib at the posterior angle, whereas the rib curve on the concave side was flattened. The observed vertebral deformities suggest that these are caused by bone remodelling processes due to forces in the anterior spinal column, which drive the apical vertebral body out of the midline, whereas forces of the musculo-ligamentous structures at the posterior side of the spinal column attempt to minimize the deviations and rotations of the vertebrae. The demonstrated rib deformities suggest an adaptation to forces imposed by the scoliotic spine.

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