Geometrical analysis for assessing torsional alignment of humerus

Yo Lun Chu, Cheng Kuang Chen, Yu Chia Liu, Tung Wu Lu, Chen Kun Liaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Compared to other types of surgeries, minimally invasive surgeries (MISs) of humeral shaft fractures are associated with less radial nerve injury, less soft tissue injury and higher union rate. However, malrotation often occurs in MISs when closed reduction methods are used. This study aims to define specific palpable landmarks to help surgeons determine the correct torsional angle and reduce the incidence of malrotation. Methods: Twenty-eight normal humeral computed tomography scans were retrieved from our image database. One line was drawn through the vertices of the intertubercular sulcus of the humeral head in the coronal view, and another line was drawn through the longest axis between the medial and lateral condyles in the coronal view. The angle between these two lines was measured at least 3 times for each scan. Results: The profile of the intertubercular sulcus tangent line of the humeral head and the axis of the distal humerus was identified as the most accurate method for assessing the precision of torsion during MIS for humeral shaft fractures. The transepicondylar axis line is more internally rotated than the intertubercular sulcus tangent line. The mean angle was measured to be 41.1 degrees. Conclusions: The axis of the distal humeral condyles is internally rotated by approximately 41.1 degrees compared with the intertubercular sulcus tangent line of the humeral head. Minimally invasive surgeries can be performed by using these palpable landmarks. The torsional deformities can be reduced with the proper angle adjustment without the need for fluoroscopy. It can also be used to treat unstable comminuted humeral fractures. Level of evidence: Retrospective Study, Diagnostic study, Level III.

Original languageEnglish
Article number92
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 10 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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