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A comparison of the simplified olecranon and digital methods of assessment of skeletal maturity during the pubertal growth spurt

A comparison of the simplified olecranon and digital methods of assessment of skeletal maturity during the pubertal growth spurt

Bone and Joint Journal 96-B(11): 1556-1560

Assessment of skeletal age is important in children's orthopaedics. We compared two simplified methods used in the assessment of skeletal age. Both methods have been described previously with one based on the appearance of the epiphysis at the olecranon and the other on the digital epiphyses. We also investigated the influence of assessor experience on applying these two methods. Our investigation was based on the anteroposterior left hand and lateral elbow radiographs of 44 boys (mean: 14.4; 12.4 to 16.1 ) and 78 girls (mean: 13.0; 11.1 to14.9) obtained during the pubertal growth spurt. A total of nine observers examined the radiographs with the observers assigned to three groups based on their experience (experienced, intermediate and novice). These raters were required to determined skeletal ages twice at six-week intervals. The correlation between the two methods was determined per assessment and per observer groups. Interclass correlation coefficients (ICC) evaluated the reproducibility of the two methods. The overall correlation between the two methods was r = 0.83 for boys and r = 0.84 for girls. The correlation was equal between first and second assessment, and between the observer groups (r ≥ 0.82). There was an equally strong ICC for the assessment effect (ICC ≤ 0.4%) and observer effect (ICC ≤ 3%) for each method. There was no significant (p < 0.05) difference between the levels of experience. The two methods are equally reliable in assessing skeletal maturity. The olecranon method offers detailed information during the pubertal growth spurt, while the digital method is as accurate but less detailed, making it more useful after the pubertal growth spurt once the olecranon has ossified.

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Accession: 051113708

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PMID: 25371474

DOI: 10.1302/0301-620X.96B11.33995

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