Index to Chiropractic Literature
Index to Chiropractic Literature
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ID 15325
  Title Posterior disk displacement: morphologic assessment and measurement reliability--lumbar spine
Journal J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2001 Jun;24(5):317-326
Peer Review Yes
Publication Type Article
Abstract/Notes BACKGROUND: Magnetic resonance imaging is often used to assess for disk displacement after manipulation, but limited information about the true incidence of iatrogenic herniations exists. To design a study that evaluates for a causal relationship, preliminary data must be obtained relating to the size of different types of disk displacement. The reliability of chiropractic radiologists in assessing disks and a comparison of different measuring devices should also be evaluated.

OBJECTIVE: To identify average measurements for normal and displaced disks and to assess the reliability of measurements by chiropractic radiologists.

Study Design: Intraobserver and interobserver reliability study assessing disk displacement on magnetic resonance scans.

METHODS: Three evaluators assessed the disks on 122 magnetic resonance scans from two imaging centers. Six categories were graded, and digitizer and ruler measurements were compared. Forty-four scans were reassessed for intraobserver agreement. Intraobserver and interobserver variations were measured with intraclass correlation coefficient and kappa statistical analysis. Measurement device correlation was assessed with Pearson's r.

RESULTS: Clear size differences between different types of disk displacement were noted. Interexaminer measurement reliability was 0.78 to 0.84. Agreement concerning the presence of disk displacement was 85% (kappa = 0.68), and the classification of disk displacements was 76% (kappa = 0.60). Intraexaminer measurement reliability was 0.40 to 0.49. Intraexaminer agreement concerning the presence of disk displacement was 76% (kappa = 0.52), and the classification of disk displacements was 62% to 69% (kappa = 0.38 to 0.46). Normal versus bulged disk distinctions demonstrated the most disagreement. The ruler and digitizer correlation coefficient was 0.968.

CONCLUSIONS: Different disk types demonstrated distinct size averages. Interexaminer agreement was good concerning disk assessment and measurements. Intraexaminer agreement was lower than expected. A millimetric ruler is an acceptable alternative to digital measurement devices.

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