In-vivo spinal cord deformation in flexion

Qing Yuan, Lawrence Dougherty, Susan S. Margulies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Traumatic mechanical loading of the head-neck complex results cervical spinal cord injury when the distortion of the cord is sufficient to produce functional or structural failure of the cord's neural and/or vascular components. Characterizing cervical spinal cord deformation during physiological loading conditions is an important step to defining a comprehensive injury threshold associated with acute spinal cord injury. In this study, in vivo quasi- static deformation of the cervical spinal cord during flexion of the neck in human volunteers was measured using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of motion with spatial modulation of magnetization (SPAMM). A custom-designed device was built to guide the motion of the neck and enhance more reproducibility. the SPAMM pulse sequence labeled the tissue with a series of parallel tagging lines. A single- shot gradient-recalled-echo sequence was used to acquire the mid-sagittal image of the cervical spine. A comparison of the tagged line pattern in each MR reference and deformed image pair revealed the distortion of the spinal cord. The results showed the cervical spinal cord elongates during head flexion. The elongation experienced by the spinal cord varies linearly with head flexion, with the posterior surface of the cord stretching more than the anterior surface. The maximal elongation of the cord is about 12 percent of its original length.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Place of PublicationBellingham, WA, United States
PublisherSociety of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)0819424447
Publication statusPublished - 1997
EventMedical Imaging 1997: Physiology and Function from Multidimensional Images - Newport Beach, CA, USA
Duration: Feb 23 1997Feb 25 1997


OtherMedical Imaging 1997: Physiology and Function from Multidimensional Images
CityNewport Beach, CA, USA


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this

Yuan, Q., Dougherty, L., & Margulies, S. S. (1997). In-vivo spinal cord deformation in flexion. In Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering (Vol. 3033, pp. 354-360). Bellingham, WA, United States: Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.