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There are many methods used to represent joint kinematics (e.g., roll, pitch, and yaw angles; instantaneous center of rotation; kinematic center; helical axis). Often in biomechanics internal landmarks are inferred from external landmarks. This study represents mandibular kinematics using a non-orthogonal floating axis joint coordinate system based on 3-D geometric models with parameters that are "clinician friendly" and mathematically rigorous. Kinematics data for two controls were acquired from passive fiducial markers attached to a custom dental clutch. The geometric models were constructed from MRI data. The superior point along the arc of the long axis of the condyle was used to define the coordinate axes. The kinematic data and geometric models were registered through fiducial markers visible during both protocols. The mean absolute maxima across the subjects for sagittal rotation, coronal rotation, axial rotation, medial-lateral translation, anterior-posterior translation, and inferior-superior translation were 34.10 degrees, 1.82 degrees, 1.14 degrees, 2.31, 21.07, and 6.95 mm, respectively. All the parameters, except for one subject's axial rotation, were reproducible across two motion recording sessions. There was a linear correlation between sagittal rotation and translation, the dominant motion plane, with approximately 1.5 degrees of rotation per millimeter of translation. The novel approach of combining the floating axis system with geometric models succinctly described mandibular kinematics with reproducible and clinician friendly parameters.


Joseph K Leader, J Robert Boston, Richard E Debski, Thomas E Rudy. Mandibular kinematics represented by a non-orthogonal floating axis joint coordinate system. Journal of biomechanics. 2003 Feb;36(2):275-81

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PMID: 12547367

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