Researcher engineers portable ultrasound to detect scoliosis in teens
A University of Alberta engineering professor has designed a portable ultrasound system that can detect scoliosis in adolescents without the risks associated with frequent X-rays.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is a deformity of the spine that occurs in two to four per cent of those between the ages of 10 and 18. A lifelong and potentially progressive condition, it can cause deformity and pain later in life if untreated, says Edmond Lou of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Lou has adapted a portable ultrasound device already available on the market by adding electronics and AI software to reconstruct a series of single images into a three-dimensional scan of the spine.
“We can display the entire spine on the monitor and measure its curvature, with no X-ray involved,” says Lou, adding there is a higher presence of cancer in adolescents who need a radiograph as often as every four to six months during treatment.