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Biomechanical simulations of the scoliotic deformation process in the pinealectomized chicken: a preliminary study

Pierre Lafortune12, Carl-Éric Aubin12*, Hugo Boulanger2, Isabelle Villemure12, Keith M Bagnall3 and Alain Moreau24

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique, University of Montreal, P.O. Box 6079, Station Centre-ville, Montreal, Quebec, H3C 3A7, Canada

2 Research Centre, Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

3 Division of Anatomy/Department of Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

4 Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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Scoliosis 2007, 2:16  doi:10.1186/1748-7161-2-16

Published: 9 November 2007



The basic mechanisms whereby mechanical factors modulate the metabolism of the growing spine remain poorly understood, especially the role of growth adaptation in spinal disorders like in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). This paper presents a finite element model (FEM) that was developed to simulate early stages of scoliotic deformities progression using a pinealectomized chicken as animal model.


The FEM includes basic growth and growth modulation created by the muscle force imbalance. The experimental data were used to adapt a FEM previously developed to simulate the scoliosis deformation process in human. The simulations of the spine deformation process are compared with the results of an experimental study including a group of pinealectomized chickens.


The comparison of the simulation results of the spine deformation process (Cobb angle of 37°) is in agreement with experimental scoliotic deformities of two representative cases (Cobb angle of 41° and 30°). For the vertebral wedging, a good agreement is also observed between the calculated (28°) and the observed (25° – 30°) values.


The proposed biomechanical model presents a novel approach to realistically simulate the scoliotic deformation process in pinealectomized chickens and investigate different parameters influencing the progression of scoliosis.