OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this pilot study were to compare the interexaminer reliability of 2 different methods of Cobb angle measurement and to determine whether the participants considered 1 of the 2 methods easier to learn, understand, and apply.
METHODS: Entry-level anatomy students who have familiarity with vertebral column anatomy but have not had previous radiology training were instructed on how to measure a Cobb angle. Each student measured 2 curves (thoracic and lumbar) on a single radiograph, first with the traditional method of Cobb angle measurement and second with a novel method of Cobb angle measurement using a digital level.
RESULTS: The variance of measurements decreased by using the novel method from thoracic to lumbar measurements and for the moderate and severe scoliosis films. All decreases in variance were statistically significant except for the lumbar measurement variance for the severe scoliosis film. The novel method of Cobb angle measurement with these same participants showed interexaminer reliability. More than 78% of naive participants considered the proposed method easier to learn, understand, and apply when compared with the traditional method.
CONCLUSION: In this group of naive students, there was improved interrater reliability, greater satisfaction, and reduced measurement variances in some cases, with a novel method using a digital level to measure the Cobb angle compared with the traditional method of measurement.
Author keywords: Scoliosis, Spinal Curvatures
Author affiliations: College of Medicine, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan
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