Characterization of the mid-coronal plane method for measurement of radiographic change in knee joint space width across different levels of image parallax

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2021 Sep;29(9):1306-1313. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2021.06.006. Epub 2021 Jun 23.


Objective: Radiographic measurement of the change in knee joint space width (ΔJSW) is often affected by image parallax, which causes an apparent exaggeration of JSW due to projectional differences. This issue with parallax (quantified by intermargin distance) can in part be addressed with a novel mid-coronal plane (MCP) measurement method. The objectives of the study were to determine 1) accuracy and 2) reproducibility of the MCP method, and 3) compare the MCP method to that used in the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) for different categories of parallax.

Methods: Posteroanterior radiographs (n = 70) with known JSW were digitally reconstructed from CT images of cadaver knees and used to determine the accuracy of ΔJSW using the MCP method for parallax categories of None, Mild/Moderate, and Severe. Reproducibility was determined from pairs of clinical radiographs selected from the OAI (n = 170). The MCP method was also compared to the OAI methodology. Both reproducibility and agreement were characterized by Bland-Altman analysis and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC).

Results: The MCP method was accurate to 0.11 mm in cases with no parallax, and 0.18 mm across all categories of parallax for medial and lateral compartments. Reproducibility of the MCP method was graded "excellent" (ICC 0.98, 95% CI [0.98, 0.99]). The MCP results agreed very well with the OAI (ICC 0.92, 95% CI [0.89, 0.94]), with mean absolute differences between methods increasing with increasing parallax.

Conclusion: The MCP method is an accurate, reproducible alternative to the OAI method for multi-center clinical trials where subject and X-ray beam positioning may be variable.

Keywords: Inter-margin distance; Joint space narrowing; Joint space width; Knee; Mid-coronal plane; Parallax.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cadaver
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Radiography / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results