Background: When spinal kyphosis increases, the compensatory mechanism activates and the pelvic position changes. Increasing the pelvic tilt, which is the orientation of the pelvis with respect to the femoral head, is known to associate with the clinical symptoms in kyphosis in the aging population. It is often difficult to detect the femoral head on radiographs, limiting the ability to determine the pelvic tilt. Therefore, there is a need to establish another parameter independent of the femoral head which closely correlates with the pelvic tilt. Methods: Eighty-two adult patients with full-length lateral standing spine radiographs were recruited (mean age: 73.0 years). A new parameter, the iliac cortical density line (a component of the arcuate line of the ilium) and the iliac tilt (defined as the angle between the iliac cortical density line and the vertical), was analyzed to determine the correlation with the pelvic tilt. Results: Both the pelvic tilt (PT) and iliac tilt (IT) could be identified in 67 patients, and a significant correlation was observed between the PT and IT (r = 0.86, P < 0.0001). The PT could be estimated using the following formula: PT = IT - 12.9 (in females), PT = IT - 16.7 (in males). Conclusions: The iliac tilt, which can be easily and directly measured using the iliac cortical density line, is a new parameter that can reliably estimate the pelvic tilt even when the femoral head is not detectable on the radiograph.
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