Best-Fit Circle for the Replication of Humeral Head Anatomy in Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

Orthop J Sports Med. 2023 Aug 29;11(8):23259671231188695. doi: 10.1177/23259671231188695. eCollection 2023 Aug.


Background: Anatomic restoration of the humeral head is critical for successful shoulder replacement. Accurate measurements of the humeral head are essential for anatomic substitution.

Purpose: To evaluate whether a best-fit circle of the humeral head, as determined from different projections of plain radiographs, can predict the humeral head implant size for either the left or right shoulder.

Study design: Descriptive laboratory study.

Methods: Bilateral shoulder radiographs of 200 patients without arthropathy or other abnormal findings of the humeral head were evaluated. The best-fit circle was obtained based on 3 points: the medial and lateral endpoints of the anatomic neck and the lateral cortex below the greater tuberosity. This circle was drawn on 5 different radiographic projections (shoulder anteroposterior [AP], glenoid AP, outlet, axillary, and 30° caudal tilt) of the left and right shoulders of each patient, and the radius of each circle was measured. Agreement in the best-fit circle radius between the left and right shoulders was statistically analyzed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). There were 2 independent blinded observers who performed each measurement twice to evaluate inter- and intraobserver reliability.

Results: Overall agreement in the radius between the right and left shoulders was excellent (all ICCs ≥0.990). The ICCs according to the radiographic view were 0.990 (95% CI, 0.986-0.993) for shoulder AP, 0.992 (95% CI, 0.989-0.995) for glenoid AP, 0.996 (95% CI, 0.994-0.997) for outlet, 0.994 (95% CI, 0.991-0.996) for axillary, and 0.993 (95% CI, 0.990-0.995) for 30° caudal tilt. Interobserver ICCs demonstrated a high level of precision: 0.987 (95% CI, 0.978-0.993) for shoulder AP, 0.986 (95% CI, 0.974-0.992) for glenoid AP, 0.974 (95% CI, 0.954-0.985) for outlet, 0.991 (95% CI, 0.984-0.995) for axillary, and 0.987 (95% CI, 0.977-0.993) for 30° caudal tilt. Intraobserver ICCs demonstrated excellent test-retest reliability: 0.983 (95% CI, 0.970-0.991) for shoulder AP, 0.989 (95% CI, 0.980-0.994) for glenoid AP, 0.987 (95% CI, 0.978-0.993) for outlet, 0.985 (95% CI, 0.973-0.991) for axillary, and 0.970 (95% CI, 0.947-0.983) for 30° caudal tilt.

Conclusion: The best-fit circle to calculate the ideal size of a humeral head implant was able to be determined from different projections of plain radiographs.

Clinical relevance: Anatomic restoration of a deformed humeral head can be achieved using the best-fit circle of the contralateral humeral head as obtained from plain radiographs. This method can facilitate preoperative planning and postoperative evaluation in the anatomic restoration of the shoulder to avoid the problems of overstuffing.

Keywords: anatomic; arthroplasty; circle; humeral head; plain radiograph; shoulder.