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Posterior disk displacement: Morphologic assessment and measurement reliability - lumbar spine

Cooley, J.R., Danielson, C.D., Schultz, G.D. and Hall, T.A. (2001) Posterior disk displacement: Morphologic assessment and measurement reliability - lumbar spine. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 24 (5). pp. 317-326.

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Background: Magnetic resonance imaging is often used to assess for disk displacement after manipulation, but limited information about the true incidence of iatrogenic herniations exists. To design a study that evaluates for a causal relationship, preliminary data must be obtained relating to the size of different types of disk displacement. The reliability of chiropractic radiologists in assessing disks and a comparison of different measuring devices should also be evaluated. Objective: To identify average measurements for normal and displaced disks and to assess the reliability of measurements by chiropractic radiologists. Study Design: Intraobserver and interobserver reliability study assessing disk displacement on magnetic resonance scans. Methods: Three evaluators assessed the disks on 122 magnetic resonance scans from two imaging centers. Six categories were graded, and digitizer and ruler measurements were compared. Forty-four scans were reassessed for intraobserver agreement. Intraobserver and interobserver variations were measured with intraclass correlation coefficient and kappa statistical analysis. Measurement device correlation was assessed with Pearson's r. Results: Clear size differences between different types of disk displacement were noted. Interexaminer measurement reliability was 0.78 to 0.84. Agreement concerning the presence of disk displacement was 85% (κ = 0.68), and the classification of disk displacements was 76% (κ = 0.60). Intraexaminer measurement reliability was 0.40 to 0.49. Intraexaminer agreement concerning the presence of disk displacement was 76% (κ = 0.52), and the classification of disk displacements was 62% to 69% (κ = 0.38 to 0.46). Normal versus bulged disk distinctions demonstrated the most disagreement. The ruler and digitizer correlation coefficient was 0.968. Conclusions: Different disk types demonstrated distinct size averages. Interexaminer agreement was good concerning disk assessment and measurements. Intraexaminer agreement was lower than expected. A millimetric ruler is an acceptable alternative to digital measurement devices.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Chiropractic and Sports Science
Publisher: Mosby Inc.
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