Send to

Choose Destination
Spine J. 2013 Dec;13(12):1789-800. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2013.05.030. Epub 2013 Jun 29.

Sagittal spinal profile and spinopelvic balance in parents of scoliotic children.

Author information

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Medical Center Utrecht, P.O. Box 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands.



It is well known that spinal biomechanics and familial predisposition play an important role in the onset and evolution of idiopathic scoliosis. The relationship between the sagittal profile of the spine and spinal biomechanics has also been established in a number of studies. It has been suggested previously that a certain sagittal spinal configuration with implications for spinal rotational stiffness is inherited, thus providing a possible explanation for the well-known hereditary component in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).


To test the hypothesis that the familial trend in AIS may be partially explained by the inheritance of a sagittal spinal profile, which has been shown to make the spine less resistant to rotatory decompensation.


A prospective case controlled radiographic analysis of the sagittal profile of the spine and spinopelvic alignment.


One hundred two parents of scoliotic children, compared with 102 age-matched controls (parents of nonscoliotic children).


Physiologic measures: sagittal profile of the spine and spinopelvic alignment.


Freestanding lateral radiographs of 51 parent couples of girls with severe (Cobb angle >30°) progressive AIS (AIS group) and 102 age-matched controls (control group) were taken. Parents with manifest spinal deformities or spinal pathology of any kind were excluded based on history or spinal X-ray to avoid distorted sagittal images with unreliable measurements. Values were calculated for thoracic kyphosis (T4-T12), lumbar lordosis (L1-L5), spinal balance (sagittal plumb line of C7 and T4, T1-L5 sagittal spinal inclination, T9 sagittal offset), curvature parameters (expressed in the area under the curve [AUC]), and pelvic parameters (pelvic tilt, pelvic incidence, and sacral slope). In addition, the height, offset, and length of the posteriorly inclined spinal segment, inclination of each vertebra, and normalized sagittal spinal profile were calculated. Differences in spinopelvic alignment between fathers and mothers of both groups were analyzed.


In the fathers of the AIS group, the plumb line of T4 was significantly less posteriorly positioned relative to the hip axis (79 mm vs. 92 mm; p=.009); the overall AUC and the lumbar AUC were significantly smaller (p=.002 and p=.008, respectively) as compared with the fathers in the control group. Vertebrae T11-L2 were significantly less backwardly inclined in the fathers of the AIS group (T11, L2: p<.05 and T12-L1: p<.01). An analysis of sagittal spinal profile showed a significantly flatter spine in the fathers of the AIS group (p=.01). No significant differences were observed in height, offset, and length of the backwardly inclined spinal segment. In the mothers of the AIS group, no statistically significant differences were observed in the spinopelvic parameters, spinal curvature, inclination of the vertebrae, and declive spinal segment parameters or sagittal spinal profile as compared with the mothers in the control group.


The sagittal spinal profile of the fathers of scoliotic children was significantly flatter than the sagittal spinal profile of fathers of nonscoliotic children. No difference was found in the sagittal spinal profile of the mothers of scoliotic children as compared with mothers of nonscoliotic children. Although it is well known that scoliotic mothers have an increased risk of having a scoliotic offspring, this study indicates that fathers may possibly contribute as well through their sagittal spinal profile to the inheritance of idiopathic scoliosis.


Etiology; Idiopathic scoliosis; Inheritance; Spinal biomechanics; Spinopelvic alignment

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center