Send to

Choose Destination
J Tissue Viability. 2018 Aug;27(3):162-172. doi: 10.1016/j.jtv.2018.04.001. Epub 2018 May 9.

Measuring the impact of cushion design on buttocks tissue deformation: An MRI approach.

Author information

Rehabilitation Engineering and Applied Research Laboratory, The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 801 Atlantic Dr. Office 026 Atlanta, 30332-0280, Georgia. Electronic address:
Rehabilitation Engineering and Applied Research Laboratory, College of Design and the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 801 Atlantic Dr. Lab 027 Atlanta, 30332-0280 , Georgia. Electronic address:
Ride Designs(®), A Branch of Aspen Seating, 8100 SouthPark Way, C400, Littleton, CO 80120, USA. Electronic address:
School of Health Sciences, Ulster University, Shore Road, Jordanstown, Newtownabbey, County Antrim, BT38 0QB, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. Electronic address:



To establish a research approach for describing how different wheelchair cushion designs impact buttocks tissue deformation during sitting.


The buttocks of 4 individuals with spinal cord injury and significant atrophy were scanned sitting in a FONAR Upright MRI. Scans were collected with the individuals' buttocks fully suspended without pelvic support, and seated on 3 different commercially available wheelchair cushions. Multi-planar scans were analyzed to provide 3D renderings and measurements of tissue thickness and shape.


Bulk tissue thicknesses at the ischium, which rarely included muscle, were reduced by more than 60% on enveloping cushion designs studied (i.e., Roho HP and Matrx Vi), and more variably (23-60%) on an orthotic off-loading design (i.e., Java). Adipose was typically displaced posterior and superior from the unloaded condition, with more lateral displacement on the Roho HP and Matrx Vi and more medial displacement present on the Java. Large changes in angle at the sacro-coccygeal joint indicated significant loading on the region. Deformation at the greater trochanter was more consistent across surfaces. Greater interface pressures tended to be associated with greater deformation, but the relationship varied by individuals and was highly non-linear.


The buttocks in this study all deformed significantly, but at different locations and in different manners across all 3 surfaces. Attention needs to be paid to the regions of greatest deformation. A future metric of shape compliance should consider cushion performance at all high risk regions, and changes to the amount and shape of tissue in the regions of interest.


Buttocks; MRI; Multi-planar; Pressure ulcer; Tissue deformation; Wheelchair cushion

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center