A comparison of film and computer workstation measurements of degenerative spondylolisthesis: Intraobserver and interobserver reliability

Michael J. Bolesta, Lauren Winslow, Kevin Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


STUDY DESIGN. A comparison of measurements of degenerative spondylolisthesis made on film and on computer workstations. OBJECTIVE. To determine whether the 2 methodologies are comparable in some of the parameters used to assess lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA. Digital radiology has been replacing analog radiographs. In scoliosis, several studies have shown that measurements made on digital and analog films are similar and that they are also similar to those made on computer workstations. Such work has not been done in spondylolisthesis. METHODS. Twenty-four cases of lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis were identified from our clinic practice. Three observers measured anterior displacement, sagittal rotation, and lumbar lordosis on digital films using the same protractor and pencil. The same parameters were measured on the same studies at clinical workstations. All measurements were repeated 2 weeks later. A statistician determined the intra and interobserver reliability of the 2 measurement methods and the degree of agreement between the 2 methods. RESULTS. The differences between the first and second readings did reach statistical significance in some cases, but none of them were large enough to be clinically meaningful. The interclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were ≥0.80 except for one (0.67). The difference among the 3 observers was similarly statistically significant in a few instances but not enough to influence clinical decisions and with good ICCs (0.67 and better). Similarly, the differences in the 2 methods were small, and ICCs ranged from 0.69 to 0.98. CONCLUSION. This study supports the use of computer workstation measurements in lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis. The parameters used in this study were comparable, whether measured on film or at clinical workstations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1300-1303
Number of pages4
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010


  • Digital radiography
  • Interobserver reliability
  • Intraobserver reliability
  • Lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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