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Injury. 2010 Jun;41(6):613-9. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2009.12.012. Epub 2010 Jan 29.

Subacromial morphometric assessment of the clavicle hook plate.

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St. Joseph's Health Centre, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Clavicle hook plates are an effective plate fixation alternative for distal clavicle fractures and severe acromioclavicular joint dislocations. However, post-operative complications associated with the subacromial portion of the hook include acromial osteolysis and subacromial impingement. We examine and quantify the three-dimensional position of the subacromial portion of the hook plate relative to surrounding acromial and subacromial structures in a series of cadaveric shoulders to determine if hook positioning predisposes the shoulder to these noted post-operative complications.


Fifteen cadaveric shoulders (seven males, eight females) were implanted with 15- or 18-mm hook plates. Dimensions of the acromion and hook plate were digitised and reconstructed into a three-dimensional model to measure acromion dimensions and distances of the subacromial hook relative to surrounding acromial and subacromial structures.


Inter-specimen dimensions of the acromion were highly variable. Mean acromion width and thickness were greater in males than in females (p=0.01). The posterior orientation of the subacromial hook varied widely (mean posterior implantation angle=32.5+/-20 degrees, range 0-67 degrees). The hook pierced the subacromial bursa in 13/15 specimens, made contact with the belly of the supraspinatus muscle in 9/15 specimens, and had focal contact at the hook tip with the undersurface of the acromion in 9/15 specimens.


The wide range of acromial dimensions leads to a high degree of variability in the positioning of the subacromial hook. The observed frequency of hook contact with surrounding subacromial structures in a static shoulder confirms that the position of the hook portion of the implant can predispose anatomic structures to the post-operative complications of subacromial impingement and bony erosion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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