Sagittal morphology and equilibrium of pelvis and spine

Eur Spine J. 2002 Feb;11(1):80-7. doi: 10.1007/s005860000224.


A prospective analysis of the sagittal profile of 100 healthy young adult volunteers was carried out in order to evaluate the relationship between the shape of the pelvis and lumbar lordosis and to create a databank of the morphologic and positional parameters of the pelvis and spine in a normal healthy population. Inclusion criteria were as follows: no previous spinal surgery, no low back pain, no lower limb length inequality, no scoliotic deviation. For each subject, a 30 x 90-cm sagittal radiograph including spine, pelvis and proximal femurs in standing position on a force plate was performed. The global axis of gravity was determined with the force plate. Each radiograph was digitized using dedicated software. The spinal parameters registered were values for thoracic kyphosis and lumbar lordosis. The pelvic angles measured were: pelvic incidence, sacral slope and pelvic tilt. The global axis of gravity was on average 9 mm anterior of the center of the femoral heads. The anatomic parameter of pelvic incidence angle varied from 33 degrees to 85 degrees (mean: 51.7 degrees, SD: 11 degrees). The average lumbar lordosis was 46.5 degrees. The average thoracic kyphosis was 47 degrees. We found a statistical correlation between incidence angle and lumbar lordosis (r=0.69, P<0.001) and between sacral slope angle and lumbar lordosis (r=0.75, P<0.001). Spine and pelvis balance around the hip axis in order to position the gravity line over the femoral heads. We propose a scheme of sagittal balance of the standing human body.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kyphosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Lordosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvis / anatomy & histology*
  • Pelvis / diagnostic imaging
  • Pelvis / physiology*
  • Postural Balance
  • Radiography
  • Reference Values
  • Spine / anatomy & histology*
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging
  • Spine / physiology*