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Imaging criteria and radiologic measurements play a key role in the diagnosis of spinal diseases. In addition, they often create the basis of classification systems that determine the severity of the disease and thereby enable a stage-related therapy. A clearly defined nomenclature for imaging findings as well as standardized and thoroughly evaluated methods of measurement are necessary to achieve a sufficiently high diagnostic accuracy. Various specialized committees dealing with the diagnosis of spinal diseases have made efforts within the last years to develop diagnostic standards. This review provides an overview of radiologic measurements and classification systems that are currently used for the diagnosis of scoliosis and degenerative diseases of the lumbar spine.