How Can Biomechanical Multibody Models of Scoliosis Be Accurate in Simulating Spine Movement Behavior While Neglecting the Changes of Spinal Length?

Athena Jalalian, Soheil Arastehfar, Ian Gibson, Francis E.H. Tay, Gabriel Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper studies how biomechanical multibody models of scoliosis can neglect the changes of spinal length and yet be accurate in reconstructing spinal columns. As these models with fixed length comprise rigid links interconnected by rotary joints, they resemble polygonal chains that approximate spine curves with a finite number of line segments. In mathematics, using more segments with shorter lengths can result in more accurate curve approximations. This raises the question of whether more accurate spine curve approximations by increasing the number of links/joints can yield more accurate spinal column reconstructions. For this, the accuracy of spine curve approximation was improved consistently by increasing the number of links/joints, and its effects on the accuracy of spinal column reconstruction were assessed. Positive correlation was found between the accuracy of spine reconstruction and curve approximation. It was shown that while increasing the accuracy of curve approximations, the representation of scoliosis concavity and its side-to-side deviations were improved. Moreover, reconstruction errors of the spine regions separated by the inflection vertebrae had minimal impacts on each other. Overall, multibody scoliosis models with fixed spinal lengths can benefit from the extra rotational joints that contribute toward the accuracy of spine curve approximation. The outcome of this study leads to concurrent accuracy improvement and simplification of multibody models; joint-link configurations can be independently defined for the regions separated by the inflection vertebrae, enabling local optimization of the models for higher accuracy without unnecessary added complexity to the whole model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number081004
JournalJournal of biomechanical engineering
Issue number8
Early online date3 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

Cite this