• Numerical simulations of the spine for patient-specific models of severe scoliosis
  • Gould, Samuele Luca <1995>


  • ING-IND/34 Bioingegneria industriale


  • In silico methods, such as musculoskeletal modelling, may aid the selection of the optimal surgical treatment for highly complex pathologies such as scoliosis. Many musculoskeletal models use a generic, simplified representation of the intervertebral joints, which are fundamental to the flexibility of the spine. Therefore, to model and simulate the spine, a suitable representation of the intervertebral joint is crucial. The aim of this PhD was to characterise specimen-specific models of the intervertebral joint for multi-body models from experimental datasets. First, the project investigated the characterisation of a specimen-specific lumped parameter model of the intervertebral joint from an experimental dataset of a four-vertebra lumbar spine segment. Specimen-specific stiffnesses were determined with an optimisation method. The sensitivity of the parameters to the joint pose was investigate. Results showed the stiffnesses and predicted motions were highly depended on both the joint pose. Following the first study, the method was reapplied to another dataset that included six complete lumbar spine segments under three different loading conditions. Specimen-specific uniform stiffnesses across joint levels and level-dependent stiffnesses were calculated by optimisation. Specimen-specific stiffness show high inter-specimen variability and were also specific to the loading condition. Level-dependent stiffnesses are necessary for accurate kinematic predictions and should be determined independently of one another. Secondly, a framework to create subject-specific musculoskeletal models of individuals with severe scoliosis was developed. This resulted in a robust codified pipeline for creating subject-specific, severely scoliotic spine models from CT data. In conclusion, this thesis showed that specimen-specific intervertebral joint stiffnesses were highly sensitive to joint pose definition and the importance of level-dependent optimisation. Further, an open-source codified pipeline to create patient-specific scoliotic spine models from CT data was released. These studies and this pipeline can facilitate the specimen-specific characterisation of the scoliotic intervertebral joint and its incorporation into scoliotic musculoskeletal spine models.


  • 2023-06-20
  • info:eu-repo/date/embargoEnd/2025-05-15


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Gould, Samuele Luca (2023) Numerical simulations of the spine for patient-specific models of severe scoliosis, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze e tecnologie della salute , 35 Ciclo.