Measurement of intervertebral cervical motion by means of dynamic X-ray image processing and data interpolation

Paolo Bifulco, Mario Cesarelli*, Maria Romano, Antonio Fratini, Mario Sansone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accurate measurement of intervertebral kinematics of the cervical spine can support the diagnosis of widespread diseases related to neck pain, such as chronic whiplash dysfunction, arthritis, and segmental degeneration. The natural inaccessibility of the spine, its complex anatomy, and the small range of motion only permit concise measurement in vivo. Low dose X-ray fluoroscopy allows time-continuous screening of cervical spine during patient's spontaneous motion. To obtain accurate motion measurements, each vertebra was tracked by means of image processing along a sequence of radiographic images. To obtain a time-continuous representation of motion and to reduce noise in the experimental data, smoothing spline interpolation was used. Estimation of intervertebral motion for cervical segments was obtained by processing patient's fluoroscopic sequence; intervertebral angle and displacement and the instantaneous centre of rotation were computed. The RMS value of fitting errors resulted in about 0.2 degree for rotation and 0.2 mm for displacements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number152920
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Biomedical Imaging
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2013 Paolo Bifulco et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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