TheT1 pelvic angle, a novel radiographic measure of global sagittal deformity, accounts for both spinal inclination and pelvic tilt and correlates with health-related quality of life.



Adult spinal deformity is a prevalent cause of pain and disability. Established measures of sagittal spinopelvic alignment such as sagittal vertical axis and pelvic tilt can be modified by postural compensation, including pelvic retroversion, knee flexion, and the use of assistive devices for standing. We introduce the T1 pelvic angle, a novel measure of sagittal alignment that simultaneously accounts for both spinal inclination and pelvic retroversion. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of the T1 pelvic angle and other established sagittal alignment measures and to correlate these parameters with health-related quality-of-life measures.


This is a multicenter, prospective, cross-sectional analysis of consecutive patients with adult spinal deformity. Inclusion criteria were adult spinal deformity, an age of greater than eighteen years, and any of the following: scoliosis, a Cobb angle of ≥ 20°, sagittal vertical axis of ≥ 5 cm, thoracic kyphosis of ≥ 60°, and pelvic tilt of ≥ 25°. Clinical measures of disability included the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)-22, and Short Form-36 (SF-36) questionnaires.


Five hundred and fifty-nine consecutive patients with adult spinal deformity (mean age, 52.5 years) were enrolled. The T1 pelvic angle correlated with the sagittal vertical axis (r = 0.837), pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis (r = 0.889), and pelvic tilt (0.933). Categorizing the patients by increasing T1 pelvic angle (<10°, 10° to 20°, 21° to 30°, and > 30°) revealed a significant and progressive worsening in health-related quality of life (p < 0.001 for all). The T1 pelvic angle and sagittal vertical axis correlated with the ODI (0.435 and 0.455), SF-36 Physical Component Summary (-0.445 and -0.458), and SRS (-0.358 and -0.383) (p < 0.001 for all). Utilizing a linear regression analysis, a T1 pelvic angle of 20° corresponded to a severe disability (an ODI of >40), and the meaningful change in T1 pelvic angle corresponding to one minimal clinically important difference was 4.1° on the ODI.


The T1 pelvic angle correlates with health-related quality of life in patients with adult spinal deformity. The T1 pelvic angle is related to both pelvic tilt and sagittal vertical axis; however, unlike sagittal vertical axis, it does not vary on the basis of the extent of pelvic retroversion or patient support in standing. Since the T1 pelvic angle is an angular and not a linear measure, it does not require calibration of the radiograph. Thus, the T1 pelvic angle measures sagittal deformity independent of many postural compensatory mechanisms, and it can be useful as a preoperative planning tool, with a target T1 pelvic angle of < 14°.

Level of evidence

Diagnostic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Protopsaltis, Themistocles, Frank Schwab, Nicolas Bronsard, Justin S Smith, Eric Klineberg, Gregory Mundis, Devon J Ryan, Richard Hostin, et al. (2014). TheT1 pelvic angle, a novel radiographic measure of global sagittal deformity, accounts for both spinal inclination and pelvic tilt and correlates with health-related quality of life. The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume, 96(19). pp. 1631–1640. 10.2106/jbjs.m.01459 Retrieved from

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Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.

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