Supine to standing Cobb angle change in idiopathic scoliosis : the effect of endplate pre-selection

Keenan, Bethany E., Izatt, Maree T., Askin, Geoffrey N., Labrom, Robert D., Pearcy, Mark J., & Adam, Clayton J. (2014) Supine to standing Cobb angle change in idiopathic scoliosis : the effect of endplate pre-selection. Scoliosis, 9(16).

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Supine imaging modalities provide valuable 3D information on scoliotic anatomy, but the altered spine geometry between the supine and standing positions affects the Cobb angle measurement. Previous studies report a mean 7°-10° Cobb angle increase from supine to standing, but none have reported the effect of endplate pre-selection or whether other parameters affect this Cobb angle difference.


Cobb angles from existing coronal radiographs were compared to those on existing low-dose CT scans taken within three months of the reference radiograph for a group of females with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Reformatted coronal CT images were used to measure supine Cobb angles with and without endplate pre-selection (end-plates selected from the radiographs) by two observers on three separate occasions. Inter and intra-observer measurement variability were assessed. Multi-linear regression was used to investigate whether there was a relationship between supine to standing Cobb angle change and eight variables: patient age, mass, standing Cobb angle, Risser sign, ligament laxity, Lenke type, fulcrum flexibility and time delay between radiograph and CT scan.


Fifty-two patients with right thoracic Lenke Type 1 curves and mean age 14.6 years (SD 1.8) were included. The mean Cobb angle on standing radiographs was 51.9° (SD 6.7). The mean Cobb angle on supine CT images without pre-selection of endplates was 41.1° (SD 6.4). The mean Cobb angle on supine CT images with endplate pre-selection was 40.5° (SD 6.6). Pre-selecting vertebral endplates increased the mean Cobb change by 0.6° (SD 2.3, range −9° to 6°). When free to do so, observers chose different levels for the end vertebrae in 39% of cases. Multi-linear regression revealed a statistically significant relationship between supine to standing Cobb change and fulcrum flexibility (p = 0.001), age (p = 0.027) and standing Cobb angle (p < 0.001). The 95% confidence intervals for intra-observer and inter-observer measurement variability were 3.1° and 3.6°, respectively.


Pre-selecting vertebral endplates causes minor changes to the mean supine to standing Cobb change. There is a statistically significant relationship between supine to standing Cobb change and fulcrum flexibility such that this difference can be considered a potential alternative measure of spinal flexibility.

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ID Code: 78075
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, cobb angle, computed tomography, radiograph, supine, measurement variability, linear regression
DOI: 10.1186/1748-7161-9-16
ISSN: 1748-7161
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (090300) > Biomechanical Engineering (090302)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Orthopaedics (110314)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Keenan et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Deposited On: 29 Oct 2014 00:00
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2014 18:53

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