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Interobserver and intraobserver agreement for Letournel acetabular fracture classification system using 3-dimensional printed solid models

  • Keltz, Eran
  • Keshet, Doron
  • Peled, Eli
  • Zvi, Yoav
  • Norman, Doron
  • Keren, Yaniv
Published Article
World Journal of Orthopedics
Baishideng Publishing Group Co (World Journal of Orthopedics)
Publication Date
Feb 18, 2021
DOI: 10.5312/wjo.v12.i2.82
PMID: 33614427
PMCID: PMC7866486
PubMed Central
  • Observational Study


BACKGROUND Acetabular fractures pose diagnostic and surgical challenges. They are classified using the Judet-Letournel system, which is based solely on X-ray. However, computed tomography (CT) imaging is now more widely utilized in diagnosing these injuries. The emergence of 3-dimensional (3-D) printing technology in varying orthopedic fields has provided surgeons a solid model that improves their spatial understanding of complex fractures and ability to plan pre-operatively. AIM To evaluate the reliability of the Judet-Letournel classification system of acetabular fractures, when using either CT imaging or 3-D printed models. METHODS Seven patients with acetabular fractures underwent pelvic CT imaging, which was then used to create solid, 3-D printed models. Eighteen orthopaedic trauma surgeons responded to questionnaires regarding fracture classification and preferred surgical approach. The same questionnaire was completed using only CT imaging, and two weeks later, using only 3-D printed models. The inter- and intra-observer agreement rates were then analyzed. RESULTS Inter-observer agreement rates based on CT imaging or 3-D printed models were moderate for fracture classification: κ = 0.44, κ = 0.55, respectively ( P < 0.001) and fair for preferred surgical approach: κ = 0.34, κ = 0.29, respectively ( P < 0.005). Intra-observer agreement rates for fracture classification and preferred surgical approach comparing CT imaging or 3-D printed models were moderate: κ = 0.48, κ = 0.41, respectively. No significant difference in intra-observer agreement was detected when comparing orthopedic pelvic specialists to general orthopedic traumatologists. CONCLUSION The Judet-Letournel classification demonstrated only moderate rates of agreement. The use of 3-D printed models increased the inter-observer agreement rates with respect to fracture classification, but decreased it with respect to the preferred surgical approach. This study highlights the role of 3-D printed models in acetabular fractures by improving spatial understanding of these complex injuries, thus providing more reliable fracture diagnoses and alternative viewpoints for pre-operative planning.

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