The value of the lateral bending test is important in the assessment of spinal curve mobility and prediction of surgical outcome in the treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). However, radiographic bending tests are unable to assess the reducibility of trunk asymmetry. This study aims to exploit surface topography measurement in order to evaluate the changes in shape of the trunk (a) between bending and neutral standing positions, and (b) between standing pre- and post-operative visits, in a cohort of adolescents with AIS having undergone surgical correction; and to correlate the differences measured in cases (a) and (b). Our cohort includes 13 patients with right thoracic AIS. Each patient had their 3D trunk surface digitized with a multi-head InSpeck system in standing posture (at the pre-op and post-op visits) and in maximum voluntary right and left bending (at the pre-op visit). We developed a novel trunk shape analysis method which produces a set of inclined trunk cross-sections allowing comparison between different postures. Two asymmetry indices, trunk rotation (TR) and back surface rotation (BSR), were computed in all cases and a statistical analysis was performed. Our correlation study (Pearson test) showed fair correlations in most cases between the changes in side-bending and those post-surgery, with the strongest relationship (p-value < 0.01) when combining the TR measurements from both bendings. These results provide evidence that the bending test can be used to assess trunk asymmetry reducibility. The proposed approach could provide a non-invasive trunk asymmetry reducibility test for routine clinical use in AIS surgery planning.
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