Chi-Hung Weng, Yu-Jui Huang, Chen-Ju Fu, Yu-Cheng Yeh, Chao-Yuan Yeh, Tsung-Ting Tsai

April 2022, pp 1 - 12 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-022-07189-9

First Online: 02 April 2022

Automatic recognition of whole-spine sagittal alignment and curvature analysis through a deep learning technique


Artificial intelligence based on deep learning (DL) approaches enables the automatic recognition of anatomic landmarks and subsequent estimation of various spinopelvic parameters. The locations of inflection points (IPs) and apices (APs) in whole-spine lateral radiographs could be mathematically determined by a fully automatic spinal sagittal curvature analysis system.


We developed a DL model for automatic spinal curvature analysis of whole-spine lateral plain radiographs by using 1800 annotated images of various spinal disease etiologies. The DL model comprised a landmark localizer to detect 25 vertebral landmarks and a numerical algorithm for the generation of an individualized spinal sagittal curvature. The characteristics of the spinal curvature, including the IPs, APs, and curvature angle, could thus be analyzed using mathematical definitions. The localization error of each landmark was calculated from the predictions of 300 test images to evaluate the performance of the landmark localizer. The interrater reliability among a senior orthopedic surgeon, a radiologist, and the DL model was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).


The accuracy of the landmark localizer was within an acceptable range (median error: 1.7–4.1 mm), and the interrater reliabilities between the proposed DL model and each expert were good to excellent (all ICCs > 0.85) for the measurement of spinal curvature characteristics.


The interrater reliability between the proposed DL model and human experts was good to excellent in predicting the locations of IPs, APs, and curvature angles. Future applications should be explored to validate this system and improve its clinical efficiency.

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