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Personalized biomechanical modeling of Boston brace treatment in idiopathic scoliosis.

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  • 1Canada Research Chair "CAD Innovations in Orthopedic Engineering", Ecole Polytechnique, PO Box 6079, Downton St., Montréal (Québec) Canada H3C 3A7.


The aim of this study was to describe how the Boston brace modify the scoliotic curvatures using a finite element (FE) model and experimental measurements. The experimental protocol, applied on 12 scoliotic girls, was composed of the pressure measurement at the brace-torso interface followed by two radiographic acquisitions of the patient's torso with and without brace. A 3D FE model of the trunk was built for each unbraced patient. The brace treatment was represented by two different modeling approaches: 1) using equivalent forces calculated from the measured pressures; 2) by an explicit personalized FE model of the brace (hexahedral elements) and its interface with the torso (contact elements). In the first model, measured brace forces less than 40N and up to 113N induced respectively less than 21% and up to 87% of real correction. Thoracic forces induced the main correction, affecting partially both lumbar and thoracic curves, in agreement with the literature. In the second model, the brace closing reduced the curves up to 35% of real correction. Contact reaction forces (16-79N) were similar to real brace forces (11-72N). The results suggested that other mechanisms than brace pads contribute to the equilibrium of the patients. Postural control by the muscular system remains a problem to address in a future study. The second model represented more realistically the load transfer from the brace to the spine than external forces application. With such model, it is expected to predict the effect of a brace before its design and manufacturing, and also to improve its design.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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