Cervical radiographical alignment: Comprehensive assessment techniques and potential importance in cervical myelopathy

Christopher P. Ames*, Benjamin Blondel, Justin K. Scheer, Frank J. Schwab, Jean Charles Le Huec, Eric M. Massicotte, Alpesh A. Patel, Vincent C. Traynelis, Han Jo Kim, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith, Virginie Lafage

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

365 Scopus citations


Study Design. Narrative review. Objective. To provide a comprehensive narrative review of cervical alignment parameters, the methods for quantifying cervical alignment, normal cervical alignment values, and how alignment is associated with cervical deformity and myelopathy with discussions of health-related quality of life. Summary of Background Data. Indications for surgery to correct cervical alignment are not well-defined and there is no set standard to address the amount of correction to be achieved. In addition, classifications of cervical deformity have yet to be fully established and treatment options defined and clarified. Methods. A survey of the cervical spine literature was conducted. Results. New normative cervical alignment values from an asymptomatic volunteer population are introduced, updated methods for quantifying cervical alignment are discussed, and describing the relationship between cervical alignment, disability, and myelopathy are outlined. Specifically, methods used to quantify cervical alignment include cervical lordosis, cervical sagittal vertical axis, and horizontal gaze with the chin-brow vertical angle. Updated methods include T1 slope. Evidence from a few recent studies suggests correlations between radiographical parameters in the cervical spine and health-related quality of life. Analysis of the cervical regional alignment with respect to overall spinal pelvic alignment is emerging and critical. Cervical myelopthay and sagittal alignment of the cervical spine are closely related as cervical deformity can lead to spinal cord compression and tension. Conclusion. Cervical deformity correction should take on a comprehensive approach in assessing global cervical-pelvic relationships and the radiographical parameters that effect health-related quality of life scores are not well-defined. Cervical alignment may be important in assessment and treatment of cervical myelopathy. Future work should concentrate on correlation of cervical alignment parameters to disability scores and myelopathy outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S149-S160
Issue number22
StatePublished - Aug 16 2013


  • Cervical HRQOL
  • Cervical SVA
  • Cervical deformity
  • Cervical lordosis
  • Cervical myelopathy
  • Cervical spine alignment
  • Chin-brow vertical angle
  • T1 slope
  • Thoracic inlet angle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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