Measurement of lumbar spine intervertebral motion in the sagittal plane using videofluoroscopy
BACKGROUND: Static radiographic techniques are unable to capture the wealth of kinematic information available from lumbar spine sagittal plane motion. OBJECTIVE: Demonstration of a viable non-invasive technique for acquiring and quantifying intervertebral motion of the lumbar spine in the sagittal plane. METHODS: Videofluoroscopic footage of sagittal plane lumbar spine flexion-extension in seven symptomatic volunteers (mean age = 48 yrs) and one asymptomatic volunteer (age = 54 yrs) was recorded. Vertebral bodies were digitised using customised software employing a novel vertebral digitisation scheme that was minimally affected by out-of-plane motion. RESULTS: Measurement errors in intervertebral rotation (± 1°) and intervertebral displacement (± 0.5 mm) compare favourably with the work of others. Some subjects presenting with an identical condition (disc prolapse) exhibited a similar column vertebral flexion-extension relative to S1 (L3: max. 5.9°, min. 5.6°), while in others (degenerative disc disease) there was paradoxically a significant variation in this measurement (L3: max. 28.1°, min. 0.7°). CONCLUSIONS: By means of a novel vertebral digitisation scheme and customised digitisation/analysis software, sagittal plane intervertebral motion data of the lumbar spine data has been successfully extracted from videofluoroscopic image sequences. Whilst the intervertebral motion signatures of subjects in this study differed significantly, the available sample size precluded the inference of any clinical trends.