3D back shape in normal young adults

Josette Bettany Saltikov, Paul Van Schaik, J Bell, Julian Warren, A. S. Wojcik, S. L. Papastefanou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


In today's climate of evidence based medicine, there is an increasing emphasis on objective assessment to monitor treatment effectiveness. Although spinal posture and back shape are commonly assessed by clinicians, current practice is based on subjective findings and unreliable objective tools. Numerous management protocols aim to improve both posture and shape, however data related to normal back shape is quite scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate normal back shape in young adults, in order to produce normative values against which deformity could be defined. The Integrated Shape Imaging System (ISIS) was used to measure the three-dimensional back shape. A convenience sample of 48 normal adults, aged 18-28 volunteered to participate in this study. A small minority of individuals showed no curve (8%), 55% showed a single curve and the rest showed a double one. Right spinal asymmetry was more frequent than the left (77% to 52%). Mean values and 95% confidence intervals were 14.1° (11.7°-16.5°) for upper Lateral asymmetry, 5.6° (3.3° - 7.9°) for lower lateral asymmetry, 24.9mm (20.6mm -29.2mm) for thoracic kyphosis and 14.9mm (12.5mm -17.2mm) for lumbar lordosis. Increasing upper lateral asymmetry correlated with decreasing thoracic kyphosis (p=0.01). Maximum skin surface angle correlated positively with only upper lateral asymmetry (p<0.0001). Similar topographical interrelationships have been demonstrated in scoliosis. It is important that clinicians in relevant disciplines objectively assess all three dimensions of back shape, as our research shows that changes in one plane are associated with changes in the other two planes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch into Spinal Deformities 3
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)1586032666, 9781586032661
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002
Event3rd Biannual Meeting of the International Research Society of Spinal Deformities - Clermont Ferrand, France
Duration: 26 May 200030 May 2000

Publication series

NameStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
ISSN (Print)0926-9630
ISSN (Electronic)1879-8365


Conference3rd Biannual Meeting of the International Research Society of Spinal Deformities
CityClermont Ferrand


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