Study designA retrospective study.BackgroundTo determine whether radiological parameters such as maximal lumbar lordosis-maximal thoracic kyphosis (maxLL-maxTK), sacral slope-pelvic tilt(SS-PT) and sacral slope/pelvic tilt (SS/PT) could be used as indicators for the diagnosis of degenerative disc disease (DDD) in compensatory sagittal balanced patients.MethodsMedical records of sagittal balanced DDD patients and asymptomatic adults within our hospital registry from July 2019 to November 2019 were reviewed. General characteristics and radiological parameters were evaluated between the two groups. Analysis of covariance with age as a covariate was conducted, followed by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis and areas under the curve (AUC) calculation. The max Youden index was calculated to identify the optimal sensitivity specificity pairs.ResultsA total of 42 DDD patients and 199 asymptomatic adults were included. For those parameters that showed significant differences between the two groups, AUC for SS/PT and SS-PT were the largest, reaching 0.919 and 0.936, respectively. The sensitivity was 0.749, the specificity was 0.952 and the max Youden index was 0.701 when SS/PT = 1.635 was used as threshold. The max Youden index was found for a threshold of SS-PT =8.500, for which the sensitivity increased to 0.854, while the specificity decreased to 0.857.ConclusionsBoth SS/PT and SS-PT were significantly different between sagittal balanced DDD patients and asymptomatic adults. SS/PT < 1.6 and SS-PT < 8.5 could be used as indicators for the diagnosis of DDD patients with compensatory sagittal balance.