Virtual prototyping of a brace design for the correction of scoliotic deformities


Based on a three-dimensional patient-specific finite element model of the spine, rib cage, pelvis and abdomen, a parametric model of a thoraco-lumbo-sacral orthosis (TLSO) was built. Its geometry is custom-fit to the patient. The rigid shell, pads and openings are all represented. The interaction between the trunk and the brace is modeled by a point-to-surface contact interface. During the nonlinear simulation process, the brace is opened, positioned on the patient and strap tension is applied. A TLSO similar to Boston brace system was built for a right-thoracic scoliotic patient. The influences of the trochanter pad and strap tension on the 3-D geometrical corrections and on the forces generated by the brace were evaluated. The role of the trochanter pad as a lever arm is confirmed by the model. The brace induces a reduction of the lordosis and pelvic tilt. The reduction of the frontal curvature is about 20% for a strap tension of 60 N. Axial rotation does not significantly change and rib hump is worsened. By using an explicit brace model and a contact interface, a more realistic simulation of orthotic treatment of scoliosis can be achieved. The stabilization of the brace on the patient can be represented and less restrictive boundary conditions can be applied. This model could be used to study the effect of design parameters on the brace efficiency.

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This study was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Thanks to Dr. Kajsa Duke Ph.D. for the careful revision of the text.

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Correspondence to Carl-Éric Aubin.

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Clin, J., Aubin, CÉ. & Labelle, H. Virtual prototyping of a brace design for the correction of scoliotic deformities. Med Bio Eng Comput 45, 467–473 (2007).

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  • Scoliosis
  • Brace
  • Finite element model
  • Design
  • Optimization