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An articulated spine and ribcage kinematic model for simulation of scoliosis deformities


Musculoskeletal multibody modeling can offer valuable insight into aetiopathogenesis behind adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, which has remained unclear. However, the underlying model should represent anatomical joints with compatible kinematic constraints while allowing the model to attain scoliotic postures. This work presents an improved and kinematically determinate model including the whole spine and ribcage, which can attain typical scoliosis deformations of the thorax with compatible constraint strategy and simulate the interaction between all the bony segments of the ribcage and the spine. In the model, costovertebral/costotransverse joints were defined as universal joints based on reported anatomical studies. Articulations between ribs and the sternum were defined as spherical joints except in the ninth and tenth pairs, which have one additional anteroposterior degree-of-freedom. The model is controlled by 15 kinematic parameters, including spinal rhythms and parameters relating to clinical metrics of scoliosis. These input values were measured from the bi-planar radiographs of a 17-year-old scoliosis patient with a right main thoracic curve of 33° Cobb angle. Dependent kinematic variables with clinical relevance were selected for validation purposes and compared with measurements from radiographs. The average errors of rib-vertebra angles, rib-vertebra angle differences, and rib humps were 6.6° and 9.0°, and 6.3 mm. The model appeared to reproduce the spine and rib deformation pattern conforming to radiographs, results in simulating the rib prominence, rib spread, rib-vertebra angles, and sternum orientation, therefore supporting the constraint definitions. The model can subsequently be used to investigate the kinetics of scoliosis and contribute to uncovering the pathomechanism.

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Data Availability

After an internal review, the model will be made publicly available through

Code Availability

The software to run the model is The AnyBody Modeling System, available from AnyBody Technology A/S,


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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. [764644].


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. [764644].

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hamed Shayestehpour.

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Conflicts of interest/Competing interests

John Rasmussen owns stock and is a board member of AnyBody Technology A/S, whose software is used for model development.

Pavel Galibarov is employed in AnyBody Technology A/S.

Ethics approval, Consent to participate, Consent for publication

This study was evaluated and approved by the local Research Ethics Committee (Journal number: H17034237). We obtained oral and written consent from the patient, and the study was conducted according to national guidelines and the Helsinki Declaration.

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Shayestehpour, H., Rasmussen, J., Galibarov, P. et al. An articulated spine and ribcage kinematic model for simulation of scoliosis deformities. Multibody Syst Dyn 53, 115–134 (2021).

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  • Thoracolumbar spine
  • Multibody modeling
  • Ribcage kinematics
  • Compatible joint definition
  • Scoliosis
  • AnyBody