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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2021 Abstracts

Anatomical Dimensions of Human Vertebral Bodies Over Time

Presenter: Zakary Wankier, College of Engineering, Biomedical Engineering
Authors: Zakary Wankier, Gidon Ofek
Faculty Advisor: Gidon Ofek, University of Utah School of Medicine, Orthopaedics
Institution: University of Utah

Current methods for the treatment of Early-Onset Scoliosis include the use of casting, spinal fusion rods, and active growing systems. These treatment methods report a high rate of complications such as endangered thoracic growth and pulmonary function, limited curve correction, and multiple revision surgeries as the child develops. The purpose of this research was to identify appropriate curvature and vertebral body size for the design of novel growing rods for Early-Onset Scoliosis treatment. An initial literature review was conducted to identify exact measurements of individual vertebral bodies C3-L5 as they develop in the human spine. Average vertebral body height, width, and depth measurements, as well as the angle between vertebrae and intervertebral disc heights were all identified for children 3-6 years old, 7-9 years old, 10-12 years old, 13-15 years old, and finally for the fully developed human spine. Data was compiled from 21 articles spanning 44 years of research. Following extensive research on the current literature there were still missing values for anatomical measurements of the vertebral bodies at different timepoints. Approximation methods were developed in order to extrapolate the missing data. Custom MATLAB code was written to perform the calculations to approximate vertebral body height, width, and depth measurements separately for the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions of the spine. Similar calculations were performed to approximate missing intervertebral disc heights. Finally, known values of the total lordotic and kyphotic angles within the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions were used to approximate missing angles. Combining literature and approximation methods, comprehensive data for human spine development was compiled. The anatomical measurements found were used to create anterior and lateral view engineering drawings of the spine at each timepoint. The compiled data and engineering drawings will be used to produce a CAD model for the development of novel growing rods.