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A new method for measuring torsional deformity in scoliosis

Toshio Doi12*, Satoshi Kido2, Umito Kuwashima2, Osamu Tono1, Kiyoshi Tarukado1, Katsumi Harimaya2, Yoshihiro Matsumoto2, Kenichi Kawaguchi2 and Yukihide Iwamoto2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Kyushu University Beppu Hospital, Oita, Japan

2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan

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Scoliosis 2011, 6:7  doi:10.1186/1748-7161-6-7

Published: 16 April 2011



The importance of spinal rotational and torsional deformity in the etiology and the management of scoliosis are well-recognized. For measuring the posterior spinal component rotation, Ho's method was reported to be reliable. However, there is no practical method to measure the anterior spinal component rotation. Moreover, there is also no method to quantify the spinal torsional deformity in scoliosis. The goal of this study is to characterize scoliosis and its deformity to hypothesize the etiology and the development of scoliosis, and to establish a new method for the measurement of the vertebral body rotation and spinal torsional deformity in scoliosis using CT scans.


Pre-operative CT scans of 25 non-congenital scoliosis patients were recruited and the apical vertebral rotation was measured by a newly developed method and Ho's method. Ho's method adopts the laminae as the rotational landmark. For a new method to measure the apical vertebral rotation, the posterior point just beneath each pedicle was used as a landmark. For quantifying the spinal torsional deformity angle, the rotational angle difference between the two methods was calculated.


Intraobserver and interobserver reliability analyses showed both methods to be reliable. Apical vertebral rotation revealed 13.9 ± 6.8 (mean ± standard deviation) degrees by the new method and 7.9 ± 6.3 by Ho's method. Right spinal rotation was assigned a positive value. The discrepancy of rotation (6.1 ± 3.9 degrees), meaning that the anterior component rotated more than the posterior component, was considered to express the spinal torsional deformity to the convex side.


We have developed an easy, reliable and practical method to measure the rotation of the spinal anterior component using a CT scan. Furthermore, we quantified the spinal torsional deformity to the convex side in scoliosis by comparing the rotation between the anterior and posterior components.