Buttocks Shape Across Wheelchair Cushions


Date: 10/21/20
Credit: .1 CEU
Presenter: Sharon Eve Sonenblum, PhD
Medical Terminology, Seating and Positioning, ATP/SMS Prep Content, Intermediate



While many factors are considered when selecting a wheelchair cushion, the ability of the cushion to prevent pressure injuries by limiting tissue deformation is an important factor. Shape Compliance describes the ability of a cushion to support the buttocks with minimal buttocks deformation. Research has shown that when a cushion matches the shape of a measured contour, it results in an improved loading profile at the buttocks. Differences across individuals may also be explored in terms of their buttocks shape. Individuals who experience more tissue deformation when seated are considered to have a high Biomechanical Risk for pressure injury development. Therefore, we would expect to see differences in the shape of the buttocks of high and low risk individuals. This course will discuss differences in shape compliance of wheelchair cushions as measured in humans and with bench tests, as well as differences in biomechanical risk across individuals.

Learning Outcomes:
The participant will be able to compare and contrast different contours associated with different cushion designs.
The participant will be able to describe two differences between the shape of the human buttocks and the shape of the complaint buttocks model.
The participant will be able to identify two key differences in buttocks shape according to pressure injury risk level.

Sharon Sonenblum, PhD is a Senior Research Scientist in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech where she studies wheelchair seating and mobility. She also serves on the board of directors of the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP). Her work focuses on two primary areas: the use of assistive technology in everyday life, and tissue health and pressure injury prevention. Dr. Sonenblum’s work on tissue health uses imaging to investigate the tissue’s response to loading and positioning and has used other tools to study the role of weight shift behaviors in pressure injury development.