Microcomputed Tomography Characterization of Shoulder Osseous Deformity After Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy: A Rat Model Study

Zhongyu Li; Barnwell, Jonathan; Tan, Josh; Koman, L. Andrew; Smith, Beth P.
November 2010
Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, American Volume;11/3/2010, Vol. 92-A Issue 15, p2583
Academic Journal
Background: Shoulder deformities are common secondary sequelae associated with brachial plexus birth palsy. The aim of the present study was to characterize three-dimensional glenohumeral deformity associated with brachial plexus birth palsy with use of microcomputed tomography scanning in a recently developed animal model. Methods: Brachial plexus birth palsy was produced by a right-sided neurotomy of the C5 and C6 nerve roots in seven five- day-old Sprague-Dawley rats. Microcomputed tomography scanning was performed when the rats were four months of age. Glenoid size, version, and inclination; humeral head size; and acromion-glenoid distance were measured. Normal shoulders of age-matched rats (n = 9) served as controls. Statistical analysis was performed with use of the unpaired two-tailed Student t test. Results: There were significant increases in glenoid retroversion (-7.6° ± 4~90 compared with 3.6° ± 2.1°; p = 0.038) and glenoid inclination (38.7° ± 7°3° compared with 11.2° ± 1.9°; p = 0.015) in the shoulders with simulated brachial plexus birth palsy in comparison with the normal, control shoulders. The glenohumeral joints were more medialized in the joints with simulated brachial plexus birth palsy as reflected by the acromion-glenoid distance measurement; however, the difference was not significant (3.20 ± 0.51 compared with 2.40 ± 0.18 mm; p = 0.12). Although the mean humeral head height and width measurements, on the average, were smaller in the brachial plexus birth palsy shoulders as compared with the normal, control shoulders, only the measurement of humeral head height was significantly different between the two groups (4.25 ± 2.02 compared with 4.97 ± 0.11mm [p = 0.0081 and 3.56 ± 0.27 compared with 4.19 ± 0.17 mm [p = 0.0561, respectively). Conclusions: In this animal model, rats with simulated brachial plexus birth palsy developed gross architectural joint distortion characterized by increased glenoid retroversion and inclination. In addition, humeral heads tended to be smaller four months after simulated brachial plexus birth palsy. Clinical Relevance: Combined with the microcomputed tomography technique, this animal model may provide a useful means of studying the natural history of shoulder deformity associated with brachial plexus birth palsy.


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