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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 967178, 5 pages
Research Article

Comparison of the Sagittal Spine Lordosis by Supine Computed Tomography and Upright Conventional Radiographs in Patients with Spinal Trauma

Division of Traumatology, University Hospital of Zurich, University of Zurich, Raemistraß 100, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland

Received 19 February 2014; Revised 17 April 2014; Accepted 5 May 2014; Published 21 May 2014

Academic Editor: Morio Matsumoto

Copyright © 2014 Samy Bouaicha et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Study Design. Retrospective data analysis. Objective. To compare the sagittal lordosis of the lumbar spine by supine computed tomography (CT) and upright conventional radiographs. Summary of Background Data. There is sparse data about position and modality dependent changes of radiographic measurements in the sagittal lumbar spine. Methods. The anatomical and functional Cobb angles of the thoracolumbar spine in 153 patients with spinal injury were measured by conventional upright sagittal radiographs and supine CT scans. Patients were assigned either to group A ( ), with radiologically confirmed vertebral fractures, or to group B ( ), without any osseous lesions. The interchangeability of the two imaging modalities was calculated using a ±3° and 5° range of acceptance. Results. Group A showed a mean intraindividual difference of −3.8° for both the anatomical and the functional Cobb angle. Only 25.7% and 27.7% of the 101 patients showed a difference within the tolerated ±3° margin. Using the ±5° limits, only 46 and 47 individuals fell within the acceptable range, respectively. In the patients in group B, the mean intraindividual difference was −2.1° for the anatomical and −1.5° for the functional Cobb angle. Of the 52 patients, only 14 and 13 patients, respectively demonstrated an intraindividual difference within ±3°. With regard to a threshold of ±5°, both the functional and anatomical values were within the defined margins in only 25 (48%) patients. Conclusion. The use of supine CT measurements as a baseline assessment of the sagittal lordosis of the injured thoracolumbar spine does not appear to be appropriate when upright conventional sagittal plane radiographs are used for follow-up measurements.