Comparison of portable and conventional ultrasound imaging in spinal curvature measurement

TitleComparison of portable and conventional ultrasound imaging in spinal curvature measurement
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsYan, C., Tabanfar R., Kempston M., Borschneck D., Ungi T., & Fichtinger G.
Conference NameSPIE Medical Imaging
PublisherSPIE Medical Imaging 2016
Conference LocationSan Diego, CA, United States.

PURPOSE: In scoliosis monitoring, tracked ultrasound has been explored as a safer imaging alternative to traditional radiography. The use of ultrasound in spinal curvature measurement requires identification of vertebral landmarks, but bones have reduced visibility in ultrasound imaging and high quality ultrasound machines are often expensive and not portable. In this work, we investigate the image quality and measurement accuracy of a low cost and portable ultrasound machine in comparison to a standard ultrasound machine in scoliosis monitoring.  

METHODS:  Two different kinds of ultrasound machines were tested on three human subjects, using the same position tracker and software. Spinal curves were measured in the same reference coordinate system using both ultrasound machines. Lines were defined by connecting two symmetric landmarks identified on the left and right transverse process of the same vertebrae, and spinal curvature was defined as the transverse process angle between two such lines, projected on the coronal plane.   

RESULTS:  Three healthy volunteers were scanned by both ultrasound configurations. Three experienced observers localized transverse processes as skeletal landmarks and obtained transverse process angles in images obtained from both ultrasounds. The mean difference per transverse process angle measured was 3.00 ± 2.1°. 94% of transverse processes visualized in the Sonix Touch were also visible in the Telemed.  Inter-observer error in the Telemed was 4.5° and 4.3° in the Sonix Touch.   

CONCLUSION: Price, convenience and accessibility suggest the Telemed to be a viable alternative in scoliosis monitoring, however further improvements in measurement protocol and image noise reduction must be completed before implementing the Telemed in the clinical setting.  

PerkWeb Citation KeyYan2016a