A New Protocol for Obtaining Whole Leg Radiographs with Excellent Reproducibility

Chien Nguyen, Nienke van Egmond, Mario Hevesib, H Weinans, Willem Paul Gielis, Roel Custers

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Introduction: Whole Leg Radiographs (WLR) are the gold standard for diagnosing malalignment and for pre-operative osteotomy planning. Positioning can affect the reproducibility of the measured hip knee angle (HKA), resulting in insufficient diagnostics and preoperative plans. We developed an easy-to-use WLR protocol by standardizing patient positioning and focusing on reproducibility. Objectives: This study aims on testing this reproducibility of the novel WLR protocol. Methods: This study enrolled 30 patients for a test-retest analysis. Each patient underwent two bilateral WLRs on the same day using the investigated positioning protocol. Three observers measured the HKA, mechanical medial proximal tibial angle (mMPTA), mechanical lateral distal femoral angle (mLDFA), and joint line convergence angle (JLCA) on the two radiographs. Twice each, with one week between. Results: The intra-observer and inter-observer reliabilities were excellent, with intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) between 0.990 and 0.996. The ICCs between the measured HKA (0.985), mMPTA (0.922), and mLDFA (0.903) on the two separate radiographs were excellent. The ICC between the JLCA measured on the first and second WLR was moderate with 0.632. The mean absolute error between the HKA, mMPTA, mLDFA, and JLCA measurements on the first and second WLR were respectively: 0.442°, 0.783°, 0.828°, and 0.794°. Conclusions: The investigated novel WLR positioning protocol produced excellent and reproducible HKA measurements, with clinically acceptable degrees of error. We recommend applying this easy-to-use protocol when obtaining WLRs for osteotomy planning. Physicians still need to be aware of possible rotational and fixed flexion deformities in the lower limb present on WLRs and during physical examination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100042
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalThe Journal of Cartilage & Joint Preservation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Hip knee angle
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Malalignment
  • Osteotomy
  • Radiography
  • Whole leg radiograph


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