Aim: In correction of angular deformities of the spine, assessment of
spinal curvature from radiographs is important. The methods used
for such assessment vary from simple to sophisticated techniques depending
on the facilities that are available. There is the need to use
a simple, yet reliable method in a health care setting with limited
resources. To ascertain the level of concordance between two manual
methods of measuring the spinal curvature of spinal angular deformities.
Method: The traditional protractor method and the goniometer method
were used to measure the angle of curvature in seventy standard
erect anteroposterior and lateral spine radiographs of patients who
had thoracic and thoracolumbar scoliosis or kyphosis and were managed
in 4 tertiary hospitals in Nigeria. Correlation analysis was then
applied to determine the association between both methods, with the
level of significance set at p<0.01.
Result: A strong association between the two manual methods was obtained
for both kyphosis and scoliosis (r= 0.99; p> 0.01). Measurement
variability increased with magnitude of curvature.
Conclusion: The traditional protractor method as well as the goniometer
method has clinical utility but for practical purposes, the goniometer
should be preferred to the protractor method of measuring
spinal curvature because of its simplicity and that it obviates intrinsic
sources of error associated with the latter.