How does computed tomography inform our understanding of shoulder kinematics? A structured review

Med Biol Eng Comput. 2023 Jan 24. doi: 10.1007/s11517-022-02755-1. Online ahead of print.


The objective of this structured review was to review how computed tomography (CT) scanning has been used to measure the kinematics of the shoulder. A literature search was conducted using Evidence-based Medicine Reviews (Embase) and PubMed. In total, 29 articles were included in the data extraction process. Forty percent of the studies evaluated healthy participants' shoulder kinematics. The glenohumeral joint was the most studied, followed by the scapulothoracic, acromioclavicular, and sternoclavicular joints. Three-dimensional computed tomography (3DCT) and 3DCT with biplane fluoroscopy are the two primary imaging techniques that have been used to measure shoulder joints' motion under different conditions. Finally, many discrepancies in the reporting of the examined motions were found. Different authors used different perspectives and planes to report similar motions, which results in confusion and misunderstanding of the actual examined motion. The use of 3DCT has been widely used in the examination of shoulder kinematics in a variety of populations with varying methods employed. Future work is needed to extend these methodologies to include more diverse populations, to examine the shoulder complex as a whole, and to standardize their reporting of motion examined to make study to study comparisons possible.

Keywords: Computed tomography; Shoulder biomechanics; Shoulder kinematics; Shoulder range of motion.

Publication types

  • Review