Tamás S. Illés, Stig M. Jespersen, Pieter Reynders, Fabien Lauer, Jean Charles Le Huec, Jean F. Dubousset

August 2020, Volume 29, Issue 8, pp 2000 - 2009 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-020-06390-y

First Online: 02 April 2020


There is insufficient information regarding axial plane characteristics of scoliosis despite its 3D nature. The posterior–anterior vertebral vector (VV) has been proposed to characterize the axial plane appearances of the thoracic scoliosis. This study aimed to highlight the importance of knowledge of axial plane features when determining fusion levels and correction techniques of thoracic curves.


Altogether, 233 thoracic curves were analyzed using the VV after proving its usability instead of 3D angles to determine axial plane parameters such as apical vertebral (APV) axial rotations, APV lateral displacement, and intervertebral rotations (IVR). K-means clustering and regression analysis were used to identify axial plane curve patterns and determine the relationship between the coronal angles and axial plane characteristics, respectively.


A close correlation was found between 3D angles and VV projected angles. Eight axial plane clusters were distinct, exhibiting different lateral APV displacement toward the interacetabular axis with relatively small axial rotations and a simultaneous decrease in sagittal curves. The regression analysis showed that the correlation of coronal curve magnitude was significantly stronger (r = 0.78) with APV lateral translation than with APV axial rotation (r = 0.65).


Based on these findings, the primary goal of scoliosis correction should focus on minimizing lateral translation rather than eliminating axial rotation. Knowing the IVR in the axial plane helps accurately determine the limits of the structural curves. VV-based axial views can facilitate the accurate determination of the end vertebrae and selection of the appropriate correction technique of the curve.

Graphic abstract

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