Photogrammetry as a tool for the postural evaluation of the spine: A systematic review

World J Orthop. 2016 Feb 18;7(2):136-48. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v7.i2.136.


Aim: To evaluate the use of photogrammetry and identify the mathematical procedures applied when evaluating spinal posture.

Methods: A systematic search using keywords was conducted in the PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, Science and Medicine(®) databases. The following inclusion criteria adopted were: (1) the use of photogrammetry as a method to evaluate spinal posture; (2) evaluations of spinal curvature in the sagittal and/or frontal plane; (3) studies published within the last three decades; and (4) written entirely in English. The exclusion criteria were: (1) studies which objective involved the verification of some aspect of validation of instruments; (2) studies published as abstracts and those published in scientific events; and (3) studies using evaluation of the anteriorization of the head to determine the angular positioning of the cervical spine. The articles in this review were included and evaluated for their methodological quality, based on the Downs and Black scale, by two independent reviewers.

Results: Initially, 1758 articles were found, 76 of which were included upon reading the full texts and 29 were included in accordance with the predetermined criteria. In addition, after analyzing the references in those articles, a further six articles were selected, so that 35 articles were included in this review. This systematic review revealed that the photogrammetry has been using in observational studies. Furthermore, it was also found that, although the data collection methodologies are similar across the studies, in relation to aspects of data analysis, the methodologies are very different, especially regarding the mathematical routines employed to support different postural evaluation software.

Conclusion: With photogrammetry, the aim of the assessment, whether it is for clinical, research or collective health purposes, must be considered when choosing which protocol to use to evaluate spinal posture.

Keywords: Kyphosis; Lordosis; Photogrammetry; Posture; Scoliosis; Spine.