Computer-assisted Measurement of Lumbar Spine Radiographs

Douglas J. Quint, Gerald F. Tuite, Joseph D. Stern, Steven E. Doran, Stephen M. Papadopoulos, John E. McGillicuddy, Craig A. Lundquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives. The authors evaluated a method for obtaining reproducible, reliable measurements from standard lumbar spine radiographs for determining the degree of spondylolisthesis, vertebral body height, intervertebral disk space height, disk space angle, and degree of vertebral body wedging. Materials and Methods. Four to six easily defined : points were identified on each vertebral body on anteroposterior and lateral plain radiographs of the lumbosacral spine of patients. From these points, the degree of spondylolisthesis, the vertebral body height, the intervertebral disk space height, the disk space angle, and the degree of vertebral body wedging were easily calculated by using well-known geometric relationships. This method requires the use of a personal computer and a standard spreadsheet program but does not require the use of any other specialized radiographic equipment, computer hardware, or custom software. Results. Calculations of intra- and interobserver variability for the measurement of spondylolisthesis, disk space height, disk space angle, and vertebral body height measurements showed that the technique is extremely reproducible. Conclusion. This technique may prove useful in the prospective evaluation of potential candidates for lumbar spinal stenosis surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)742-752
Number of pages11
JournalAcademic radiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Computers, diagnostic aid
  • Spine, intervertebral disks
  • Spine, radiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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