Development and testing of a new application for measuring motion at the cervical spine

Koji Fujita, Kana Matsuo, Takafumi Koyama, Kurando Utagawa, Shingo Morishita, Yuta Sugiura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cervical myelopathy is a progressive disease, and early detection and treatment contribute to prognosis. Evaluation of cervical intervertebral instability by simple X-ray is used in clinical setting and the information about instability is important to understand the cause of myelopathy, but evaluation of the intervertebral instability by X-ray is complicated. To reduce the burden of clinicians, a system that automatically measures the range of motion was developed by comparing the flexed and extended positions in the lateral view of a simple X-ray of the cervical spine. The accuracy of the system was verified by comparison with spine surgeons and residents to determine whether the system could withstand actual use. Methods: An algorithm was created to recognize the four corners of the vertebral bodies in a lateral cervical spine X-ray image, and a system was constructed to automatically measure the range of motion between each vertebra by comparing X-ray images of the cervical spine in extension and flexion. Two experienced spine surgeons and two residents performed the study on the remaining 23 cases. Cervical spine range of motion was measured manually on X-ray images and compared with automatic measurement by this system. Results: Of a total of 322 cervical vertebrae in 46 images, 313 (97%) were successfully estimated by our learning model. The mean intersection over union value for all the 46-test data was 0.85. The results of measuring the CRoM angle with the proposed cervical spine motion angle measurement system showed that the mean error from the true value was 3.5° and the standard deviation was 2.8°. The average standard deviations for each measurement by specialist and residents are 2.9° and 3.2°. Conclusions: A system for measuring cervical spine range of motion on X-ray images was constructed and showed accuracy comparable to that of spine surgeons. This system will be effective in reducing the burden on and saving time of orthopedic surgeons by avoiding manually measuring X-ray images. Trial registration Retrospectively registered with opt-out agreement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number193
JournalBMC Medical Imaging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec


  • Cervical myelopathy
  • Image analysis
  • Motion measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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