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J Biomech. 1987;20(10):961-70.

Automatic localization of anatomical landmarks on the back surface and construction of a body-fixed coordinate system.

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  • 1Institut für Experimentelle Biomechanik, Westfälische Wilhelmus-Universität, Münster, F.R.G.


A method for automatic measurement of anatomical landmarks on the back surface is presented. The landmarks correspond to the verteba prominens, the dimples of the posterior superior iliac spines and the sacrum point (beginning of rima ani), which are characterized by distinct surface curvature. The surface curvatures are calculated from rasterstereographic surface measurements. The procedure of isolating a region of interest for each landmark (surface segmentation) and the calculation of the landmark coordinates are described in detail. The accuracy of landmark localization was tested with serial rasterstereographs of 28 patients (with moderate idiopathic scoliosis). From the results the intrinsic accuracy of the method is estimated to be little more than 1 mm (depending on the sampling density of the surface measurement). Therefore, the landmarks may well be used for the objective definition of a body-fixed reference coordinate system. The accuracy is, however, dependent on the specific landmark and a minor influence of posture variations is observed.

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