Inter- and intrarater reliability of measuring lengthening of magnetically controlled growing rods on digital radiographs

Charlotte Sommer Meyer*, Peter Doering, Peter Heide Pedersen, Kresten Wendell Rickers, Søren Peter Eiskjær

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine inter- and intraobserver reliability of delta rod extension, and total rod length measured on digital x-rays in patients with early onset scoliosis (EOS) treated with magnetically controlled growing rods (MCGR). For the last decade, patients with EOS have been treated with MCGR. Replacement of MCGR relies heavily on the measurement done at every lengthening session. Only a few studies have looked at inter- and intraobserver reliability of rod lengthening, and none have used the delta extension before. Methods: 202 radiographs presented in random order were rated and measured twice with at least a 14-day interval and differing order of the radiographs. The measuring was done at both rods. All x-rays came from 15 patients diagnosed with EOS and treated with MCGR from 2009 until 2019. The total extension length and the delta extension (the difference in total extension length between two lengthening in succession) were measured, and the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) calculated for both measurements Results: Intrarater ICC scores varied from moderate to good, but non-significantly. Interrater reliability increased significantly from moderate (ICC 0.72 [0.68; 0.76] and 0.73 [0.69; 0.77] to excellent (ICC 0.91 [0.88; 0.93] and 0.97 [0.96: 0.98]), when examining delta extension every sixth instead of every second month. Conclusion: Measuring rod lengthening on x-rays can be done every 6 months, with an ample reliability. The ICC’s for the delta extension with 2–3 months interval were only moderately precise, compared to the near perfect ICC’s for the total extension length.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)3525-3532
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Early onset scoliosis
  • ICC
  • Image quality
  • Magnetically controlled growing rod
  • Measurements of rod lengthening
  • Radiographs


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