BACKGROUND: Accurate assessment of glenoid inclination is of interest for a variety of conditions and procedures. The purpose of this study was to develop an accurate and reproducible measurement for glenoid inclination on standardized anterior-posterior (AP) radiographs and on computed tomography (CT) images.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Three consistently identifiable angles were defined: Angle α by line AB connecting the superior and inferior glenoid tubercle (glenoid fossa) and the line identifying the scapular spine; angle β by line AB and the floor of the supraspinatus fossa; angle γ by line AB and the lateral margin of the scapula. Experimental study: these 3 angles were measured in function of the scapular position to test their resistance to rotation. Conventional AP radiographs and CT scans were acquired in extension/flexion and internal/external rotation in a range up to ±40°. Clinical study: the inter-rater reliability of all angles was assessed on AP radiographs and CT scans of 60 patients (30 with proximal humeral fractures, 30 with osteoarthritis) by 2 independent observers.
RESULTS: The experimental study showed that angle α and β have a resistance to rotation of up to ±20°. The deviation from neutral position was not more than ±10°. The results for the inter-rater reliability analyzed by Bland-Altman plots for the angle β fracture group were (mean ± standard deviation) -0.1 ± 4.2 for radiographs and -0.3 ± 3.3 for CT scans; and for the osteoarthritis group were -1.2 ± 3.8 for radiographs and -3.0 ± 3.6 for CT scans.
CONCLUSION: Angle β is the most reproducible measurement for glenoid inclination on conventional AP radiographs, providing a resistance to positional variability of the scapula and a good inter-rater reliability.