Marcin Tyrakowski, Tomasz Kotwicki, Jaroslaw Czubak, Kris Siemionow

June 2014, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 1244 - 1250 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-014-3275-1

First Online: 01 April 2014


The aim of the study was to analyze four radiographic methods of calculating the loss of body height associated with scoliosis.


Thirty patients with right thoracic idiopathic scoliosis were examined with standing postero-anterior radiographs. Cobb angles of the upper thoracic, main thoracic and lumbar curves were measured. The loss of body height due to scoliosis was measured directly on the radiographs and then calculated using the methods of Bjure, Kono, Stokes and Ylikoski, respectively. The reproducibility of calculations was tested. Detailed analysis of two patients with similar Cobb angle but different trunk height was performed.


The mean Cobb angle of the main thoracic curve was 46° (21°–74°). The mean loss of body height was 23 mm (11–43 mm) calculated by method of Bjure, 7 mm (−24 to 46 mm) by Kono, 20 mm (5–47 mm) by Stokes, 14 mm (3–36 mm) by Ylikoski, versus 18 mm (3–50 mm) measured directly on radiographs. The overall difference between the loss of body heights was significant (p < 0.0001), with significant differences in pairs for: Bjure versus Kono (p < 0.0001), Stokes versus Kono (p = 0.0002), Kono versus measured (p = 0.0061) and Bjure versus Ylikoski (p = 0.0386). Strong linear correlation between the methods was found (r ≥ 0.92; p < 0.0001). High reproducibility of height loss calculations was noticed. The two patients with similar Cobb angle and different trunk height revealed similar height loss calculated, while different loss measured on radiographs.


There existed no overall agreement between the four methods of calculation of the loss of body height associated with scoliosis. Calculations based on the Cobb angle produced inaccuracy and could be supplemented with data considering trunk size.

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