iPhone’s photo edit function helps with diagnosing unique cervical spine issues

iPhone camera for cervical spondylitis

A team of Chinese medical researchers has discovered a novel use for the iPhone’s intrinsic photo edit function. The team used an iPhone to help measure the parameters of the cervical spine and found it convenient and reliable.

The study recruited a hundred patients diagnosed with cervical spondylitis myelopathy or cervical spondylitis radiculopathy. They compared images taken with the Picture archiving and communication system (PACS), the gold standard for diagnosing this type of cervical spine problem.

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How the study uses the iPhone to measure the spine

Four different angles, including the C0-2 Cobb angle, C2-7 Cobb angle T1S and neck tilt, were assessed by iPhone and PACS.

The researchers found that using the iPhone’s intrinsic photo edit function was accurate, reliable, fast, and convenient when measuring cervical sagittal parameters.

The built-in camera of the iPhone was used to take photos for measurement. To minimize parallax errors, the iPhone screen’s plane should be kept parallel to the plane of the computer screen when taking the picture.

The built-in photo edit function was used to rotate the pictures of the X-ray films, allowing the grid lines and scale of rotation angle to be identified clearly and simultaneously.

Traditionally, cervical sagittal parameters are measured by drawing lines on the radiographic films with a marker pen and reading them with a protractor.

Doctors do not always carry these tools, and stained film and time-consuming issues are concerns that should also be noted. According to the researchers, using an iPhone is way more convenient, faster, and reliable.

The compact yet powerful iPhone camera is increasingly used in novel healthcare applications. 

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I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products, have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA specializing in emerging tech, and owned the popular site AppleToolBox. In my day job, I advise Fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health and fitness-tech evolution and keeping a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships, and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Watch and closely monitor my HRV and other recovery metrics.

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