An ear-worn sensor for the detection of gait impairment after abdominal surgery

Louis Atallah, Omer Aziz, Edward Gray, Benny Lo, Guang-Zhong Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Surgery to the trunk often results in a change of gait, most pronounced during walking. This change is usually transient, often as a result of wound pain, and returns to normal as the patient recovers. Quantifying and monitoring gait impairment therefore represents a novel means of functional postoperative home recovery follow-up. Until now, this type of assessment could only be made in a gait lab, which is both expensive and labor intensive to administer on a large scale. The objective of this work is to validate the use of an ear-worn activity recognition (e-AR) sensor for quantification of gait impairment after abdominal wall and perianal surgery. The e-AR sensor was used on 2 comparative simulated data sets (N = 32) of truncal impairment to observe walking patterns. The sensor was also used to observe the walking patterns of preoperative and postoperative surgical patients who had undergone abdominal wall (n = 5) and perianal surgery (n = 5). Methods for multiresolution feature extraction, selection, and classification are investigated using the raw ear-sensor data. Results show that the method demonstrates a good separation between impaired and nonimpaired classes for both simulated and real patient data sets. This indicates that the e-AR sensor may be used as a tool for the pervasive assessment of postoperative gait impairment, as part of functional recovery monitoring, in patients at their own homes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-94
Number of pages9
JournalSurgical innovation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • Abdominal Wall/surgery
  • Algorithms
  • Anal Canal/surgery
  • Computer Simulation
  • Ear
  • Gait/physiology
  • Humans
  • Mobility Limitation
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory/instrumentation
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Postoperative Period
  • Recovery of Function/physiology
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Walking/classification
  • Wireless Technology/instrumentation

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Cancer Research Centre


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