Video fluoroscopic analysis of the effects of three commonly-prescribed off-the-shelf orthoses on vertebral motion

Andrew Utter, Meredith L. Anderson, Joseph G. Cunniff, Kenton R. Kaufman, Elena J. Jelsing, Todd A. Patrick, Dixon J. Magnuson, Timothy P. Maus, Michael J. Yaszemski, Jeffery R. Basford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Study Design. Fluoroscopic assessment of the effects of commercially available spinal orthotics on lumbar vertebral motion as subjects performed flexion and extension maneuvers. Objective. To quantitate the effects of 3 commonly available, off-the-shelf, soft, and semirigid spinal orthoses on lumbar spinal motion. Summary of Background Data. Commercially available soft and semirigid orthoses are widely prescribed for patients with low back pain and, at times, following surgery. Despite this use, surprisingly little is known about the magnitude of their effects on lumbar vertebral motion. Methods. Ten subjects (6 men and 4 women) with an average age of 27.0 ± 5.3 years, underwent videofluoroscopic imaging as they performed a full flexion/extension cycle. Assessments, during which the subjects were unbraced or wearing either a soft lumbrosacral orthosis (LSO), a semirigid LSO, or a semirigid thoracolumbrosacral orthosis (TLSO) were performed in random order. Images were obtained at a rate of 3.75 Hz and digitally processed to determine the sagittal rotation of the L3-L5 vertebral bodies. Results. Each of the braces produced a statistically significant reduction in overall lumbar motion during the flexion maneuver (P = 0.007) but none had a detectable effect during extension. Relative effectiveness varied by vertebral level. At the L3-L4 level, only the TLSO had a statistically significant effect on intervertebral flexion movement (32%, P = 0.003). At the L4-L5 level all the orthoses were effective (and statistically indistinguishable) in their ability to reduce intervertebral flexion movements ranging from 48% for the semirigid TLSO to about 15% to 20% for the 2 LSOs. No effects were noted for any of the orthoses at the L5-S1 level. Conclusion. Commercially available soft and semirigid orthotics can have significant effects on lumbar vertebral body motion at the L3-L4 and L4-L5 levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E525-E529
Issue number12
StatePublished - May 20 2010


  • Brace
  • LSO
  • Orthotics
  • Spinal motion
  • Spine
  • TLSO
  • Videofluoroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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