The goal of this study was to reliably predict sagittal and coronal spinal alignment with clinical photographs by using markers placed at easily localized anatomical landmarks.
A consecutive series of patients with adult spinal deformity were enrolled from a single center. Full-length standing radiographs were obtained at the baseline visit. Clinical photographs were taken with reflective markers placed overlying C2, S1, the greater trochanter, and each posterior-superior iliac spine. Sagittal radiographic parameters were C2 pelvic angle (CPA), T1 pelvic angle (TPA), and pelvic tilt. Coronal radiographic parameters were pelvic obliquity and T1 coronal tilt. Linear regressions were performed to evaluate the relationship between radiographic parameters and their photographic “equivalents.” The data were reanalyzed after stratifying the cohort into low–body mass index (BMI) (< 30) and high-BMI (≥ 30) groups. Interobserver and intraobserver reliability was assessed for clinical measures via intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs).
A total of 38 patients were enrolled (mean age 61 years, mean BMI 27.4 kg/m2, 63% female). All regression models were significant, but sagittal parameters were more closely correlated to photographic parameters than coronal measurements. TPA and CPA had the strongest associations with their photographic equivalents (both r2 = 0.59, p < 0.001). Radiographic and clinical parameters tended to be more strongly correlated in the low-BMI group. Clinical measures of TPA and CPA had high intraobserver reliability (all ICC > 0.99, p < 0.001) and interobserver reliability (both ICC > 0.99, p < 0.001).
The photographic measures of spinal deformity developed in this study were highly correlated with their radiographic counterparts and had high inter- and intraobserver reliability. Clinical photography can not only reduce radiation exposure in patients with adult spinal deformity, but also be used to assess deformity when full-spine radiographs are unavailable.