The Future of Musculoskeletal Imaging

Thanks to a grant from the UK Chiropractic Research Council we are working in partnership with Exeter University to revolutionise the way we understand spinal movement and back conditions. 

With the limitations of static imaging such as x-rays and MRIs, the AECC developed Quantitate Fluoroscopy technology, enabling patients to be observed during motion. This shows stresses on the spine during typical dynamic movement patterns, increasing the value of the results. Although now being used in the USA, including by NASA, this patented technology isn’t available anywhere else in Europe.

Exeter University have developed a Finite Element Model, producing computer generated 3-D models of an individual’s spine which enables the representation of detailed spinal conditions such as the hardness, weight and viscosity of elements. Their mathematical capability and specialist mathematical software form a core competency of the university. 

Under future collaborations the AECC and University of Exeter aim to create the most comprehensive spinal replication modelling system in the world, using their combined expertise and world-leading research capability. For the first time this revolutionary technology would allow for detailed computer generated spinal modelling of individuals under dynamic motion. Previously this has only been carried out using animal vertebrae, but this new technology would allow for bespoke human data to be produced and analysed.

The benefits to the healthcare professions are clearly significant when considering back pain, treatment and intervention. At present the technology, in its infancy, takes a long time to execute, but in the future the AECC expect this technology to be widely available, in years to come even being commonly used by back specialists.   

This new technology could revolutionise the way we understand the spine with far reaching benefits to a whole range of healthcare disciplines. This exciting partnership puts both the AECC and Exeter University at the forefront of research and innovation, confirming these institutions’ reputations as both first class education centres and cutting edge research bodies.