The palm-sized 3D ultrasound imaging system named Scolioscan Air provides radiation-free scoliosis assessment, and is capable of providing accurate, safe and cost-efficient mass screening to schools across the community.

PolyU said that Scoliosis is one of the most prevalent spinal diseases affecting adolescents, which is estimated to be detected in about 3% to 5% of adolescents across Hong Kong.

In addition, approximately 15% of the adolescents with scoliosis would experience deteriorating condition, requiring bracing or surgery when curves progress to moderate or severe status. During the growth period of adolescent school-children, early detection of scoliosis conditions and regular check-up is therefore seen as crucial.

The X-ray imaging is the clinical standard for scoliosis assessment, while the radiation exposure may pose increased risk for cancer.

PolyU said that the Scolioscan Air is radiation-free and cost-effective in comparison with existing X-ray imaging technologies, and is capable of facilitating mass screening and frequent follow-up monitoring.

The device also obtains image in any postures, provide vertebra rotation and muscle-related information, and form a 3D spinal model for the three-dimensional analysis of deformity of spine.

In addition, Scolioscan is applicable for conducting prognosis and monitoring treatment outcomes for each scoliosis patient to establish personalized treatment plan.

BME Head and Henry G. Leong Professor in Biomedical Engineering ZHENG Yong-ping said: “With this innovation, we can now literally bring the device and mass screening service to the youngsters anywhere, anytime. It would facilitate the implementation of school-based scoliosis screening to detect and treat spinal curvatures before they become severe enough to cause chronic pain or other health issues among adolescents.

“Moreover, when providing non-surgical treatment for scoliosis patients, healthcare personnel can use Scolioscan Air to conduct real-time assessment, so as to optimise the treatment outcome.”

PolyU claimed that Scolioscan has been registered as a medical device in different countries, including European Union and Australia.