The analysis of sagittal alignment by measuring spinopelvic parameters has been widely adopted among spine surgeons globally, and sagittal imbalance is a well-documented cause of poor quality of life. These measurements are time-consuming but necessary to make, which creates a growing need for an automated analysis tool that measures spinopelvic parameters with speed, precision, and reproducibility without relying on user input. This study introduces and evaluates an algorithm based on artificial intelligence (AI) that fully automatically measures spinopelvic parameters.
Two hundred lateral lumbar radiographs (pre- and postoperative images from 100 patients undergoing lumbar fusion) were retrospectively analyzed by board-certified spine surgeons who digitally measured lumbar lordosis, pelvic incidence, pelvic tilt, and sacral slope. The novel AI algorithm was also used to measure the same parameters. To evaluate the agreement between human and AI-automated measurements, the mean error (95% CI, SD) was calculated and interrater reliability was assessed using the 2-way random single-measure intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). ICC values larger than 0.75 were considered excellent.
The AI algorithm determined all parameters in 98% of preoperative and in 95% of postoperative images with excellent ICC values (preoperative range 0.85–0.92, postoperative range 0.81–0.87). The mean errors were smallest for pelvic incidence both pre- and postoperatively (preoperatively −0.5° [95% CI −1.5° to 0.6°] and postoperatively 0.0° [95% CI −1.1° to 1.2°]) and largest preoperatively for sacral slope (−2.2° [95% CI −3.0° to −1.5°]) and postoperatively for lumbar lordosis (3.8° [95% CI 2.5° to 5.0°]).
Advancements in AI translate to the arena of medical imaging analysis. This method of measuring spinopelvic parameters on spine radiographs has excellent reliability comparable to expert human raters. This application allows users to accurately obtain critical spinopelvic measurements automatically, which can be applied to clinical practice. This solution can assist physicians by saving time in routine work and by avoiding error-prone manual measurements.
Illustrations from Hagan et al. (pp 843–850). © Albert Telfeian, published with permission.