Effects of positioning on radiographic measurements of ankle morphology: A computerized tomography-based simulation study

Chien Chung Kuo, Hsuan Lun Lu, Tung Wu Lu, Cheng Chung Lin, Alberto Leardini, Mei Ying Kuo, Horng Chaung Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Measurements of the morphology of the ankle joint, performed mostly for surgical planning of total ankle arthroplasty and for collecting data for total ankle prosthesis design, are often made on planar radiographs, and therefore can be very sensitive to the positioning of the joint during imaging. The current study aimed to compare ankle morphological measurements using CT-generated 2D images with gold standard values obtained from 3D CT data; to determine the sensitivity of the 2D measurements to mal-positioning of the ankle during imaging; and to quantify the repeatability of the 2D measurements under simulated positioning conditions involving random errors.Method: Fifty-eight cadaveric ankles fixed in the neutral joint position (standard pose) were CT scanned, and the data were used to simulate lateral and frontal radiographs under various positioning conditions using digitally reconstructed radiographs (DRR).Results and discussion: In the standard pose for imaging, most ankle morphometric parameters measured using 2D images were highly correlated (R > 0.8) to the gold standard values defined by the 3D CT data. For measurements made on the lateral views, the only parameters sensitive to rotational pose errors were longitudinal distances between the most anterior and the most posterior points of the tibial mortise and the tibial profile, which have important implications for determining the optimal cutting level of the bone during arthroplasty. Measurements of the trochlea tali width on the frontal views underestimated the standard values by up to 31.2%, with only a moderate reliability, suggesting that pre-surgical evaluations based on the trochlea tali width should be made with caution in order to avoid inappropriate selection of prosthesis sizes.Conclusions: While highly correlated with 3D morphological measurements, some 2D measurements were affected by the bone poses in space during imaging, which may affect surgical decision-making in total ankle arthroplasty, including the amount of bone resection and the selection of the implant sizes. The linear regression equations for the relationship between 2D and 3D measurements will be helpful for correcting the errors in 2D morphometric measurements for clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131
JournalBioMedical Engineering Online
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 20 2013


  • Reliability
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Simulated radiograph
  • Talus
  • Tibia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biomaterials


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