3D hindfoot alignment measurements based on low-dose biplanar radiographs: a clinical feasibility study

Skeletal Radiol. 2019 May;48(5):707-712. doi: 10.1007/s00256-018-3089-z. Epub 2018 Oct 23.


Objective: To test a 3D-hindfoot alignment (HA) measurement technique based on low-dose biplanar radiographs (BPRs) in a clinical setting and compare the results with 2D-HA measurements on long axial view radiographs (LARs).

Materials and methods: This prospective study was approved by the local institutional review board. HA measurements on 3D-BPR and 2D-LAR of 50 patients (29 female; mean age 47 ± 16.6 years) were compared (positive values = valgus; negative values = varus). Two independent musculoskeletal radiologists (readers 1 and 2) performed 3D-HA measurements on BPR using a custom-made MATLAB code and measured HA on LAR during two separate readout sessions. Descriptive statistics and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were calculated, and Bland-Altman plots were used for intermethod comparison.

Results: Using BPRs, HA was 0.8° ± 9.°1 (range, -20.2 to 20.0) for reader 1, and 0.7° ± 9.5° (range, -21.2 to 18.3) for reader 2. HA on LARs was -2.0 ° ± 7.0° (range, -27.0° to 11.1°) for reader 1 and - 1.7° ± 7.0° (range, -24.1° to 14.3°) for reader 2. Interreader agreement for measurements was excellent, both for BPRs (ICC = 0.992; 95% CI:0.986-0.995) and LAR measurements (ICC = 0.962; 95% CI:0.932-0.978). Mean difference between the two methods was -2.43° (range, -29.4° to 25.6°) for reader 1 and -2.6° (range,-28.7° to 30.2°) for reader 2. On Bland-Altman plots, three measurements of reader 1 and six measurements of reader 2 were outside of the ±1.96 SD interval.

Conclusion: Hindfoot alignment measurements on 3D-BPR have an excellent interreader agreement in a clinical setting. Large measurement errors can occur in individual patients using 2D-LAR alone. Therefore, we suggest using 3D-BPR measurements in daily routine for the assessment of HA, which are independent of rotational foot malpositioning.

Keywords: Alignment; Ankle; Biplanar radiographs; Hindfoot; Long axial view.

MeSH terms

  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Foot / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results