The clavicle has a complex osteologic structure that makes morphological analysis extremely difficult. A three-dimensional study was conducted to examine the anatomical variations and characteristics of the bone. Sixty-eight human cadaver clavicles were dissected, CAT-scanned, and reconstructed. An automated parameterization and correspondence shape analysis system was developed. A new length, designated as centerline (CL) length, was defined and measured. This length represents the true length of the clavicle. The endpoint length was measured as the distance between two endpoints. The width and curvature were measured in the axial (AX) and frontal (FR) plane and defined along the CL. Next gender and side characteristics and variations were examined. The mean CL length was 159.0 ± 11.0 mm. The mean endpoint length was 149.4 ± 10.3 mm, which was statistically significantly shorter than the CL. The male clavicle was significantly longer (166.8 ± 7.3 mm vs. 151.0 ± 8.2 mm), wider (14.6 ± 1.5 mm vs. 12.7 ± 1.3 mm lateral FR plane, 25.9 ± 4.1 mm vs. 23.5 ± 3.0 mm lateral AX plane and 24.7 ± 2.8 mm vs. 22.8 ± 2.8 mm medial AX plane), and more curved (10.8 ± 2.8 mm vs. 8.6 ± 2.3 mm medial and 10.5 ± 3.3 mm vs. 9.1 ± 2.5 mm lateral) than the female one. Left clavicles were significant longer (159.8 ± 10.9 mm vs. 158.0 ± 11.2 mm) than right clavicles. A novel three-dimensional system was developed, used and tested in order to explore the anatomical variations and characteristics of the human clavicle. This information, together with the automated system, can be applied to future clavicle populations and to the design of fixation plates for clavicle fractures.
Keywords: clavicle anatomy; curvature; three-dimensional analysis; true length; width.
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