The normal glenohumeral relationships. An anatomical study of one hundred and forty shoulders

J. P. Iannotti, J. P. Gabriel, S. L. Schneck, B. G. Evans, S. Misra

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458 Scopus citations


We measured the dimensions of the humeral and glenoid articular surfaces in 140 shoulders that were representative of a given population of patients, and also evaluated several glenohumeral relationships. Ninety-six measurements were made in the shoulders of cadavera and forty-four, on magnetic resonance-imaging studies of living patients. Eighty-five per cent of the humeral measurements fell within eight fixed combinations of the radius of curvature and the thickness of the humeral head, in two-millimeter increments. The average radius of curvature of the humeral head in the coronal plane was 24 ± 2.1 millimeters (range, nineteen to twenty-eight millimeters). The average thickness of the humeral head was 19 ± 2.4 millimeters (range, fifteen to twenty-four millimeters). There was a wide variability in the size of the humeral head and a direct correlation between the differences in size and the heights in both men and women. The humeral articular surface was spherical in the center; however, the peripheral radius was two millimeters less in the axial plane than in the coronal plane. Thus, the peripheral contour of the articular surface was elliptical (ratio, 0.92). The radius of curvature of the glenoid, measured in the coronal plane, was an average of 2.3 ± 0.2 millimeters greater than that of the humeral head. The average dimensions of the glenoid in the superior-inferior and anterior- posterior (lower half) directions were 39 ± 3.5 millimeters (range, thirty to forty-eight millimeters) and 29 ± 3.2 millimeters (range, twenty-one to thirty-five millimeters). The anterior-posterior dimension of the glenoid was pear-shaped, the lower half being larger than the top half. The ratio of the lower half to the top half was 1:0.80 ± 0.01. There was a strong linear correlation between the lateral humeral offset and the size of the humeral head (radius of curvature and thickness). The average lateral humeral offset was 56 ± 5.7 millimeters (range, forty-three to sixty-seven millimeters). The superiormost point on the humeral articular surface was an average of 8 ± 3.2 millimeters (range, three to twenty millimeters) cephalad to the top of the greater tuberosity. Our data show that reconstruction of the lateral humeral offset is important in optimization of the moment arm of the deltoid and rotator cuff and of the normal tension of the soft tissue after prosthetic reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-500
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series A
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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