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The Trunk Appearance Perception Scale (TAPS): a new tool to evaluate subjective impression of trunk deformity in patients with idiopathic scoliosis

Juan Bago1*, Judith Sanchez-Raya2, Francisco Javier Sanchez Perez-Grueso1 and Jose Maria Climent2

Author Affiliations

1 Spine Unit, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hospital Vall d'Hebron, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, P° Vall d'Hebron, 119, 08035, Barcelona, Spain

2 Department of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine, Hospital Vall d'Hebron, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, P° Vall d'Hebron, 119, 08035, Barcelona, Spain

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Scoliosis 2010, 5:6  doi:10.1186/1748-7161-5-6

Published: 25 March 2010



Outcome assessment in idiopathic scoliosis should probably include patients' perception of their trunk deformity in addition to self-image. This can be accomplished with the Walter Reed Visual Assessment Scale (WRVAS). Nevertheless, this instrument has some shortcomings: the drawings are abstract and some figures do not relate to the corresponding radiological deformity. These considerations prompted us to design the Trunk Appearance Perception Scale (TAPS).


Patients with idiopathic scoliosis and no prior surgical treatment were included. Each patient completed the TAPS and SRS-22 questionnaire and underwent a complete radiographic study of the spine. The magnitude of the upper thoracic, main thoracic, and thoracolumbar/lumbar structural curves were recorded. The TAPS includes 3 sets of figures that depict the trunk from 3 viewpoints: looking toward the back, looking toward the head with the patient bending over and looking toward the front. Drawings are scored from 1 (greatest deformity) to 5 (smallest deformity), and a mean score is obtained.


A total of 186 patients (86% females), with a mean age of 17.8 years participated. The mean of the largest curve (CMAX) was 40.2°. The median of TAPS sum score was 3.6. The floor effect was 1.6% and ceiling effect 3.8%. Cronbach's alpha coefficient was 0.89; the ICC for the mean sum score was 0.92. Correlation coefficient of the TAPS mean sum and CMAX was -0.55 (P < 0.01). Correlation coefficients between TAPS mean sum score and SRS-22 scales were all statistically significant, ranging from 0.45 to 0.52 (P < 0.05).


The TAPS is a valid instrument for evaluating the perception patients have of their trunk deformity. It shows excellent distribution of scores, internal consistency, and test-retest reliability, and has good capacity to differentiate the severity of the disease. It is simple and easy to complete and score, the figures are natural, and a new frontal view is included.