Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Mark C. Lee;Nicholas D. Warren

Field of Study

Biomedical Engineering


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) is a three dimensional deformity of the spine that causes abnormal curvatures in the coronal and sagittal planes and abnormal vertebral rotations. The gold standard for diagnosing and tracking the progression of the deformity is through the use of repeated radiography and a patient can receive upwards of fifteen radiographic series over the course of treatment, which exposes this population to an increased risk of radiation-dependent complications.

This thesis presents the necessary calculations and the marker set required to make the motion capture technology a viable alternative to radiographs, in an effort to reduce the patient’s exposure to ionizing radiation. Using retro-reflective markers and force plates, it is possible to determine asymmetries in the frontal and transverse plane, to calculate the balance of the spine, to replicate common radiographic measures, and to determine the kinematic profiles of the spine for each patient.

The results of this work successfully showed that there is a high correlation between the radiographic measures and those calculated using motion analysis technology. When applied clinically, the results from a small set of AIS patients indicated that the motion analysis technology can help describe the underlying spinal and muscular deformities of patients with AIS. This work provides a viable means of reducing the number of radiographs this patient population is subjected to over the course of their non-operative treatment. It also provides a strong foundation for future work on applying motion capture technology to advance scoliosis research.

Major Advisor

Donald R. Peterson