Discovery - University of Dundee - Online Publications

Library & Learning Centre

Humeral head arthroplasty and its ability to restore original humeral head geometry

Humeral head arthroplasty and its ability to restore original humeral head geometry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

View graph of relations


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of shoulder and elbow surgery
Journal publication date2013
Early online date14/05/12


Background: Modern prosthetic components are designed to enable restoration of proximal humeral morphology, provided that a precise osteotomy of the humeral head at the level of the anatomic neck is performed. To determine whether a simulated osteotomy and replacement arthroplasty with an idealized implant were able to restore original head geometry.

Materials and methods: A handheld digitizer and surface laser scanner were used to digitize 24 humeri. Computer models were used to simulate an osteotomy, performed at the anterior cartilage-metaphyseal interface, and reconstruct the head with a spherical prosthetic head. The head diameter, radius of curvature, and inclination and retroversion angles were calculated for each specimen and compared with the original humeral head.

Results: The simulated osteotomy resulted in a 4.8 degrees decrease in inclination (P <.01) and 11.3 degrees increase in retroversion (P <.001). The radius of curvature in the coronal plane was not significantly different (P = .284). However, in the axial plane, the prosthesis was significantly larger than the original head for both head diameter (P <.001) and radius of curvature (P <.05). Discussion: The study suggests that the humeral head is not a perfect segment of a sphere and an osteotomy along the anterior cartilage-metaphyseal interface does not remove only the proximal humeral articular surface. Even with a fully adaptable prosthetic implant, replacement arthroplasty is not able to restore original head geometry.

Conclusions: Alterations to head geometry with the osteotomy described may alter the line of force through the prosthetic joint, producing eccentric loading at the glenoid, and contribute to early failure.


Library & Learning Centre

Contact | Accessibility | Policy