What Is the Actual 3D Representation of the Rib Vertebra Angle Difference (Mehta Angle)?

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Study Design.Cross-sectional study.Objective.To establish the relevance of the conventional two-dimensional (2D) rib vertebra angle difference (RVAD) and the relationship with the complex three-dimensional (3D) apical morphology in scoliosis.Summary of Background Data.The RVAD, also known as Mehta angle, describes apical rib asymmetry on conventional radiographs and was introduced as a prognostic factor for curve severity in early onset scoliosis, and later applied to other types of scoliosis as well.Methods.An existing idiopathic scoliosis database of high-resolution computed tomography scans used in previous work, acquired for spinal navigation, was used. Eighty-eight patients (Cobb angle 46°–109°) were included. Cobb angle and 2D RVAD, as described by Mehta, were measured on the conventional radiographs and coronal digitally reconstructed radiographs (DRR) of the prone computed tomography scans. A previously validated, semiautomatic image processing technique was used to acquire complete 3D spinal reconstructions for the measurement of the 3D RVAD in a reconstructed true coronal plane, axial rotation, and sagittal morphology.Results.The 2D RVAD on the x-ray was on average 25.3° ± 11.0° and 25.6° ± 12.8° on the DRR (P = 0.990), but in the true 3D coronal view of the apex, hardly any asymmetry remained (3D RVAD: 3.1° ± 12.5°; 2D RVAD on x-ray and DRR vs. 3D RVAD: P < 0.001). 2D apical rib asymmetry in the anatomical coronal plane did not correlate with the same RVAD measurements in the 3D reconstructed coronal plane of the rotated apex (r = 0.155; P = 0.149). A larger 2D RVAD was found to correlate linearly with increased axial rotation (r = 0.542; P < 0.001) and apical lordosis (r = 0.522; P < 0.001).Conclusion.The 2D RVAD represents a projection-based composite radiographic index reflecting the severity of the complex 3D apical morphology including axial rotation and apical lordosis. It indicates a difference in severity of the apical deformation.Level of Evidence: 4

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