Development and assessment of a digital X-ray software tool to determine vertebral rotation in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Susanne M. Eijgenraam, Toon F. M. Boselie, Judith M. Sieben*, Caroline H. G. Bastiaenen, Paul C. Willems, Jacobus J. Arts, Arno Lataster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND CONTEXT: The amount of vertebral rotation in the axial plane is of key importance in the prognosis and treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). Current methods to determine vertebral rotation are either designed for use in analogue plain radiographs and not useful in digital images, or lack measurement precision and are therefore less suitable for the follow-up of rotation in AIS patients.

PURPOSE: This study aimed to develop a digital X-ray software tool with high measurement precision to determine vertebral rotation in AIS, and to assess its (concurrent) validity and reliability.

STUDY DESIGN/SETTING: In this study a combination of basic science and reliability methodology applied in both laboratory and clinical settings was used.

METHODS: Software was developed using the algorithm of the Perdriolle torsion meter for analogue AP plain radiographs of the spine. Software was then assessed for (1) concurrent validity and (2) intra-and interobserver reliability. Plain radiographs of both human cadaver vertebrae and outpatient AIS patients were used. Concurrent validity was measured by two independent observers, both experienced in the assessment of plain radiographs. Reliability-measurements were performed by three independent spine surgeons.

RESULTS: Pearson correlation of the software compared with the analogue Perdriolle torsion meter for mid-thoracic vertebrae was 0.98, for low-thoracic vertebrae 0.97 and for lumbar vertebrae 0.97. Measurement exactness of the software was within 5 degrees in 62% of cases and within 10 degrees in 97% of cases. Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) for inter-observer reliability was 0.92 (0.91-0.95), ICC for intra-observer reliability was 0.96 (0.94-0.97).

CONCLUSIONS: We developed a digital X-ray software tool to determine vertebral rotation in AIS with a substantial concurrent validity and reliability, which may be useful for the follow-up of vertebral rotation in AIS patients. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-265
Number of pages6
JournalThe Spine Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • Prognosis
  • Radiology
  • Reliability
  • Scoliosis
  • Software
  • Vertebral rotation


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