Three Dimensional Digital Modelling of Human Spine Anthropometrics and Kinematics from Meta-analysis. How Relevant is Existing Anatomical Research?

Justin Magee, RJ Winder, Brian Mcclelland

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Objective: This research aims to provide a complete spine digital model, including vertebral anthropometrics, posture and kinematics to inform biomechanics models.Background: There is limited integration of published literature on quantitative anatomy, anthropometrics and posture data in current digital models. Most studies precluded the interconnected nature of the spines. Method: A literature review from the disciplines of anatomy, manipulative therapy, anthropometrics, occupational ergonomics, biomechanics and forensic science was conducted. The data was unified into a single normative model of the sub-axial spine using a normalisation protocol. A related kinematics meta-analysis was conducted. Results: 2D orthographic drawings were produced from 590 individual measurements, informing a 3D model. New data relating to vertebral spatial coordinates are published. The kinematics data was applied to the 3D model, interconnecting spine regions. Range of Motion (ROM) ratios of movement were calculated throughout the spine. Inter-vertebral measurements were extrapolated, providing new data. To the best of our knowledge this digital model is the first to quantify skeletal anthropometrics, posture and kinematics.Conclusion: The model data and the limitations discussed provide a roadmap for other spine model researchers. New basic science anatomical research is needed, revisiting quantitative anatomy and kinematics studies, using interrelated 3D digital technologies, within a standardised protocol framework for researcher to adhere to. From user-centric design, biomechanical engineering to rehabilitation care, quantification of spine anthropometrics at vertebral level and their spatial profile under motion is key. Existing publications in biomechanics, by computer scientists and mathematicians often limits to a few studies or excludes the basic science of human spine anatomy, vertebral anthropometrics, posture and kinematics, choosing to focus on functional mathematics principles. The present research provides a unified model and a potentially powerful tool in quantifying and visualising these attributes. It complements biomechanics research towards better informed and more complex models of the spine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
JournalJournal of Spine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 18 Jan 2015


  • Skeletal anthropometrics
  • Quantitative anatomy
  • ROM
  • Models and measures
  • Spine
  • 3D Digital model
  • Three dimensional
  • Meta-analysis


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