The Smart Magazine About Medical Technology Innovations

#18 – Minimally Invasive Robotic Systems

Using Vibration to Assess the Spine

Spine vibration technology (Courtesy of University of Alberta)

Researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada and the University of Southern Denmark have been testing a new, non-invasive method of spinal assessment that uses vibrations to identify conditions that may be invisible to MRI and other imaging techniques.

This technology, sold by VibeDx, employs a small probe to apply gentle vibrations to the skin of the lower back. The transmitted energy is then measured at various points along the spinal column by sensors. That information allows the type, severity and location of a spinal problem to be determined.

For their study, the researchers examined twins with similar spines (verified by MRI), comparing them to others whose backs differed due to injury or disease in one of the twins. The findings showed that sensor readings in the first group were similar, while the readings diverged in the twins with different spines.

The technique could serve as a new tool for understanding the source of lumbar spine problems. According to Dr. Greg Kawchuk, Chief Scientific Officer at VibeDx, 80% of the world’s population experiences back pain.

About the Author

Celia Sampol has been a journalist for more than 15 years. She worked in Brussels and Washington for national medias (Agence France Presse, Liberation, Europolitics). She's the editor-in-chief of NauticExpo e-magazine and MedicalExpo e-magazine.

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