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Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 2000;4(3):349-59.

Radiographic evaluation of children and adolescents with a spinal deformity.

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Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Accurate and reproducible measurement of radiographs of children and adolescents with spinal deformities by radiologists is important. It provides useful information for treating physicians. Standing posteroanterior (PA) and lateral radiographs of the entire spine are the preferred views. Common radiographic measurements include the Cobb angle for curve magnitude, the center sacral line for trunk shift, and the Risser sign for maturity. A vocabulary of standard spinal deformity terminology is presented to be utilized on radiographic reports to improve communication. Correctly measuring spinal deformity and determining skeletal maturity enables the treating physician to evaluate the status of their patients' deformity, determine if treatment is necessary, and assess the stability of the spine during orthotic treatment and after surgery.

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