Asian Spine J.  2019 Jun;13(3):377-385. 10.31616/asj.2018.0219.

Assessment of In Vivo Lumbar Inter-Vertebral Motion: Reliability of a Novel Dynamic Weight-Bearing Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technique Using a Side-Bending Task

  • 1The University of The West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.
  • 2Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute, Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA.
  • 3Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA.
  • 4Department of Geriatric Medicine, Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA.


STUDY DESIGN: Between-session reliability of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based experimental technique to quantify lumbar inter-vertebral motion in humans. PURPOSE: We have developed a novel, dynamic, MRI-based approach for quantifying in vivo lumbar inter-vertebral motion. In this study, we present the protocol's reliability results to quantify inter-vertebral spine motion. OVERVIEW OF LITERATURE: Morphometric studies on intervertebral displacements using static, supine MRI and quantification of dynamic spine motion using different X-ray based radiography techniques are commonly found in the literature. However, reliability testing of techniques assessing real-time lumbar intervertebral motion using weight-bearing MRI has rarely been reported.
Ten adults without a history of back pain performed a side-bending task on two separate occasions, inside an open-MRI, in a weight-bearing, upright position. The images were acquired during the task using a dynamic magnetic resonance (MR) sequence. The MRI imaging space was externally calibrated before the study to recreate the imaging volume for subsequent use in an animation software. The dynamic MR images were processed to create side-bending movement animations in the virtual environment. Participant-specific three-dimensional models were manually superimposed over vertebral image silhouettes in a sequence of image frames, representing the motion trials. Inter-vertebral axes and translation and rotational displacements of vertebrae were quantified using the animation software.
Quantification of inter-vertebral rotations and translations shows high reliability. Between-session reliability results yielded high values for the intra-class correlation coefficient (0.86-0.93), coefficient of variation (13.3%-16.04%), and Pearson's correlation coefficients (0.89-0.98).
This technique may be developed further to improve its speed and accuracy for diagnostic applications, to study in vivo spine stability, and to assess outcomes of surgical and non-surgical interventions applied to manage pathological spine motion.


Magnetic resonance imaging; Lumbar vertebrae; Intervertebral disc; Recurrent low back pain

MeSH Terms

Back Pain
Intervertebral Disc
Low Back Pain
Lumbar Vertebrae
Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
Full Text Links
  • ASJ
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
    DB Error: unknown error