Scapulothoracic Alignment Alterations in Patients with Walch Type B Osteoarthritis: An In Vivo Dynamic Analysis and Prospective Comparative Study

J Clin Med. 2020 Dec 27;10(1):66. doi: 10.3390/jcm10010066.


Background: Kinematic changes of the scapulothoracic joint may influence the relative position of the glenoid fossa and, consequently, the glenohumeral joint. As the alignment of the scapula relative to the thorax differs between individuals, such variability may be another factor in the development of posterior head subluxation. The purpose of this study was to compare scapulothoracic alignment in pathologic type B shoulders with contralateral healthy shoulders.

Methods: Seven adult volunteers with unilateral type B glenohumeral osteoarthritis (OA) underwent bilateral computed tomography (CT) scans of the shoulders and arms. A patient-specific, three-dimensional measurement technique that coupled medical imaging (i.e., CT) and optical motion capture was used.

Results: The scapulothoracic distance at the trigonum was 75 ± 15 mm for pathologic shoulders and 78 ± 11 mm for healthy shoulders (p = 0.583), while at the inferior angle, it was 102 ± 18 mm for pathologic shoulders and 108 ± 12 mm for healthy shoulders (p = 0.466).

Conclusion: Scapula positioning at a resting position did not differ between pathologic and healthy shoulders. However, pathologic shoulders tended to be limited in maximal glenohumeral motion and exhibited greater anterior tilt of the scapula in internal rotation at 90 degrees, which may be adaptive to the restricted glenohumeral motion.

Keywords: 3D simulation; B glenoid; biomechanics; kinematics; scapular malalignment; shoulder arthritis.