2011 Volume 9 Pages 26-32
The acromial-sensor-tracking protocol with an electromagnetic tracking device is a non-invasive measurement protocol for recording the three-dimensional scapular movement continuously. In the present study, the orientations of motionless scapula were determined with the acromial-sensor-tracking protocol and the magnitude of the measurement error attributable to the skin-movement was assessed non-invasively by the landmark-digitizing protocol with the digitizer. Three sensors of the electromagnetic tracking device were attached to the skin overlaying the sternum, acromion and humerus, and three or more bony landmarks for each segment were manually digitized with the stylus to define the anatomical meaningful orientation. After the initial digitizing, the subject was asked to maintain the arm at five positions. While the subject was maintaining the arm, the orientation of the scapula was determined simultaneously by the attached sensors and by the directly digitizing of the scapular bony landmarks (the landmark-digitizing protocol). The mean values for the root mean square (RMS) errors representing the differences in the measured scapular orientation between the acromial-sensor-tracking protocol and the landmark-digitizing protocol across the five humeral abduction angles were found to be <5.2°. The magnitude of the measurement error exhibited in acromial-sensor-tracking protocol was substantially smaller than the range of the scapular movement exhibited during the humeral abduction. The results demonstrate that the acromial-sensor-tracking protocol is a valid measurement protocol to describe the three-dimensional continuous scapular movement with sufficient accuracy.