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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2008 Mar;466(3):661-9. doi: 10.1007/s11999-007-0089-z. Epub 2008 Feb 10.

CT scan method accurately assesses humeral head retroversion.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Traumatology, Hôpital de L'Archet, University of Nice, Nice, France.


Humeral head retroversion is not well described with the literature controversial regarding accuracy of measurement methods and ranges of normal values. We therefore determined normal humeral head retroversion and assessed the measurement methods. We measured retroversion in 65 cadaveric humeri, including 52 paired specimens, using four methods: radiographic, computed tomography (CT) scan, computer-assisted, and direct methods. We also assessed the distance between the humeral head central axis and the bicipital groove. CT scan methods accurately measure humeral head retroversion, while radiographic methods do not. The retroversion with respect to the transepicondylar axis was 17.9 degrees and 21.5 degrees with respect to the trochlear tangent axis. The difference between the right and left humeri was 8.9 degrees. The distance between the central axis of the humeral head and the bicipital groove was 7.0 mm and was consistent between right and left humeri. Humeral head retroversion may be most accurately obtained using the patient's own anatomic landmarks or, if not, identifiable retroversion as measured by those landmarks on contralateral side or the bicipital groove.

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