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Application of a biomechanical finite element spine model to the vicious cycle scoliosis growth theory: evaluation of improved FEA geometry and material assignment Open Access


Other title
Finite element analysis
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Fok, Jonathan
Supervisor and department
Carey, Jason (Mechanical Engineering)
Adeeb, Samer (Civil Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Carey, Jason (Mechanical Engineering)
Raso, Jim (Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital)
McDonald, Andre (Mechanical Engineering)
Kawchuk, Greg (Physical Therapy)
Adeeb, Samer (Civil Engineering)
Toogood, Roger (Mechanical Engineering)
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Jonathan Winfield Fok
Degree level
Scoliosis is defined as the abnormal three dimensional curvature of the spine with 80% of all cases being idiopathic in nature. If left unchecked, this condition can cause cardio-pulmonary complications and occasionally death. Currently, the most common method of treatment of scoliosis is through mechanical bracing or in extreme cases, corrective surgery. Current treatments can be further improved with a greater understand of the growth patterns of scoliotic spines. The objective of this study is to develop a finite element spine model capable of responding to loading conditions in a similar fashion to previous finite biomechanics spine model and utilize the ‘vicious cycle’ scoliosis theory in an effort to model scoliosis growth. Using CT images of a healthy spine, a three dimensional finite element model of the L3-L4 vertebra is generated. Asymmetric loading due to compression and muscle forces can then be applied on the spine and the resultant stresses are then translated into equivalent thermal load. Using this thermal load, it is possible to cause the spine model to grow, thereby predicting the growth pattern of a spine due to asymmetric loading.
License granted by Jonathan Fok ( on 2009-07-15T14:27:13Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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