To measure the Cobb angle on scoliosis, x-ray has been the common tool for decades. For teenage girls with idiopathic adolesent scoliosis, the increased exposure to radiation from x-ray can increase their risk of developing breast-cancer or becoming infertile. It is estimated that girls will have an average of 22 x-rays during a three year treatment period. In an attempt to mitigate this risk, radiologists take the x-ray in the posteroanterior position which reduces the risk somewhat. New x-ray systems have also been developed to help reduce the radiation risk further.
In some countries, school based screening programs are in place to assess for scoliosis in children and teenagers. In the US, where these programs are mandated in some states, the value and cost effectiveness is often debated. As scoliosis is a three dimensional deformity, it is important to be able to measure the spine in all three planes, which is why x-ray is a popular choice, however, this also drives cost.
The EasyAngle Digital Goniometer is an effective tool for measuring range of motion of the spinal column in all three planes. EasyAngle can measure the cobb angle on scoliosis in just two clicks. As such, it can be used to reduce costs for school screening programs. As well as measuring the cobb angle, the EasyAngle also performs the same function as a scoliometer, where the patient can fold forward while the device is moved along the spine to assess for deformities. Kyphosis and lordosis angles can also be easily measured using EasyAngle.
How to measure the cobb angle on scoliosis
Measuring the cobb angle requires that you first palpate the spine to identify the first and last vertebrae that are out of alignment. It is good to mark these with a felt pen before taking the measurement. The measurement button is pressed to get blinking zero. This lets us know we are ready to select the plane of measurement. The device is then aligned centrally on the first vertebrae that is out of alignment. The measurement button is clicked to begin the measurement. The device is then aligned centrally on the last vertebrae that is out of alignment. The measurement button is clicked again to end the measurement.
Using EasyAngle for patient motivation
One of the big benefits of using EasyAngle is that you can show the number to the patient. As they progress with treatment, they see the number changing and are motivated to continue with their therapy. Positive improvements in the angle are very encouraging for both patients and parents/guardians.