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Could clinical ultrasound improve the fitting of spinal orthosis for the patients with AIS?

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This study aimed to improve the effectiveness of orthotic treatment for the patients with AIS using the three-dimensional clinical ultrasound (3D CUS) method in which the optimal location of pressure pad of spinal orthosis was determined with the assistance of ultrasound image analysis.


By means of 3D CUS method, the spinous process angle (SPA) could be traced and used as a clinical parameter to estimate the Cobb’s angle in order to determine the location of pressure pad. Twenty-one patients (test group) and 22 patients (control group) were recruited to the ultrasound-assisted fitting method and the conventional fitting method, respectively. All the measurements were done by a blinded observer.


The intra-rater reliability of using 3D CUS to measure SPA was found >0.9 [ICC (3,3) = 0.91, p < 0.05]. In the test group, 13 out of 21 patients were required to adjust the location of pressure pad in order to achieve the largest curvature correction. The mean immediate in-brace corrections (Cobb’s angle measured from radiographs) of the test group (mean thoracic curve correction: 10.3°, mean lumbar curve correction: 10.1°) were found significantly higher (p < 0.005) than that of the control group (mean thoracic curve correction: 4.6°, mean lumbar curve correction: 6.0°). The results showed that the ultrasound-assisted fitting method of spinal orthosis was effective and beneficial to 62 % of the patients in this study.


The 3D CUS could be considered as an effective, non-invasive and fast assessment method to scoliosis, especially in enhancing the effectiveness of orthotic treatment and its applications could also be further extended to other spinal deformities.

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The work described in this paper was substantially supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project No. PolyU 5635/07M).

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest, financial or otherwise, related to the submitted manuscript or the associated reasearches.

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Correspondence to M. Li or M. S. Wong.

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Li, M., Cheng, J., Ying, M. et al. Could clinical ultrasound improve the fitting of spinal orthosis for the patients with AIS?. Eur Spine J 21, 1926–1935 (2012).

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