Feasibility of Using Low-cost Markerless Motion Capture for Assessing Functional Outcomes after Lower Extremity Musculoskeletal Cancer Surgery

Sherron Furtado*, Brook Galna, Alan Godfrey, Lynn Rochester, Craig Gerrand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Downloads (Pure)


BackgroundPhysical limitations are frequent and debilitating after sarcoma treatment. Markerless motion capture (MMC) could measure these limitations. Historically expensive cumbersome systems have posed barriers to clinical translation.
Research questionCan inexpensive MMC [using Microsoft KinectTM] assess functional outcomes after sarcoma surgery, discriminate between tumour sub-groups and agree with existing assessments?
MethodsWalking, unilateral stance and kneeling were measured in a cross-sectional study of patients with lower extremity sarcomas using MMC and standard video. Summary measures of temporal, balance, gait and movement velocity were derived. Feasibility and early indicators of validity of MMC were explored by comparing MMC measures i) between tumour sub-groups; ii) against video and iii) with established sarcoma tools [Toronto Extremity Salvage Score (TESS)), Musculoskeletal Tumour Rating System (MSTS), Quality of life-cancer survivors (QoL-CS)]. Statistical analysis was conducted using SPSS v19. Tumour sub-groups were compared using Mann-Whitney U tests, MMC was compared to existing sarcoma measures using correlations and with video using Intraclass correlation coefficient agreement.
ResultsThirty-four adults of mean age 43 (minimum value—maximum value 19–89) years with musculoskeletal tumours in the femur (19), pelvis/hip (3), tibia (9), or ankle/foot (3) participated; 27 had limb sparing surgery and 7 amputation. MMC was well-tolerated and feasible to deliver. MMC discriminated between surgery groups for balance (p<0.05*), agreed with video for kneeling times [ICC = 0.742; p = 0.001*] and showed moderate relationships between MSTS and gait (p = 0.022*, r = -0.416); TESS and temporal outcomes (p = 0.016* and r = -0.0557*), movement velocity (p = 0.021*, r = -0.541); QoL-CS and balance (p = 0.027*, r = 0.441) [* = statistical significance]. As MMC uncovered important relationships between outcomes, it gave an insight into how functional impairments, balance, gait, disabilities and quality of life (QoL) are associated with each other. This gives an insight into mechanisms of poor outcomes, producing clinically useful data i.e. data which can inform clinical practice and guide the delivery of targeted rehabilitation. For example, patients presenting with poor balance in various activities can be prescribed with balance rehabilitation and those with difficulty in movements or activity transitions can be managed with exercises and training to improve the quality and efficiency of the movement.
SignificanceIn this first study world-wide, investigating the use of MMC after sarcoma surgery, MMC was found to be acceptable and feasible to assess functional outcomes in this cancer population. MMC demonstrated early indicators of validity and also provided new knowledge that functional impairments are related to balance during unilateral stance and kneeling, gait and movement velocity during kneeling and these outcomes in turn are related to disabilities and QoL. This highlighted important relationships between different functional outcomes and QoL, providing valuable information for delivering personalised rehabilitation. After completing future validation work in a larger study, this approach can offer promise in clinical settings. Low-cost MMC shows promise in assessing patient’s impairments in the hospitals or their homes and guiding clinical management and targeted rehabilitation based on novel MMC outcomes affected, therefore providing an opportunity for delivering personalised exercise programmes and physiotherapy care delivery for this rare cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0300351
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2024

Cite this