Reconstructing proximal humeral fractures using the bicipital groove as a landmark

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2007 May;458:168-74. doi: 10.1097/BLO.0b013e318032561e.


Controversy persists in the literature regarding the use of the bicipital groove as an anatomic landmark to restore humeral head retroversion when treating complex proximal humeral fractures with arthroplasty. We quantified the three-dimensional geometry of the bicipital groove in 49 dried humeri relative to the intramedullary axis, quantified the reliability of using the bicipital groove as an anatomic landmark, and compared this reliability with that of the conventional technique that uses a fixed, average angle relative to the epicondylar axis to establish humeral head retroversion. The data show the anterior offset of the bicipital groove is nearly constant from proximal (7.3 mm +/- 2.8 mm) to distal (7.2 mm +/- 1.5 mm) relative to the intramedullary axis. Given the consistency, the distal bicipital groove (at the level of the surgical neck) is a reasonable landmark to establish humeral head retroversion after complex proximal humeral fractures having reliability (angular error of 7.9 degrees +/- 5.8 degrees) as good as or better than the conventional fixed-angle technique.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Humeral Fractures / surgery*
  • Humerus / anatomy & histology*
  • Humerus / injuries
  • Humerus / surgery*
  • Orthopedic Procedures / methods*
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures*