Objective: To identify and review the literature regarding the reliability of cervical vertebrae maturation (CVM) staging to predict the pubertal spurt.
Materials and methods: The selection criteria included cross-sectional and longitudinal descriptive studies in humans that evaluated qualitatively or quantitatively the accuracy and reproducibility of the CVM method on lateral cephalometric radiographs, as well as the correlation with a standard method established by hand-wrist radiographs.
Results: The searches retrieved 343 unique citations. Twenty-three studies met the inclusion criteria. Six articles had moderate to high scores, while 17 of 23 had low scores. Analysis also showed a moderate to high statistically significant correlation between CVM and hand-wrist maturation methods. There was a moderate to high reproducibility of the CVM method, and only one specific study investigated the accuracy of the CVM index in detecting peak pubertal growth.
Conclusions: This systematic review has shown that the studies on CVM method for radiographic assessment of skeletal maturation stages suffer from serious methodological failures. Better-designed studies with adequate accuracy, reproducibility, and correlation analysis, including studies with appropriate sensitivity-specificity analysis, should be performed.