Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy

, Volume 41, Issue 11, pp 1369–1375 | Cite as

Defining the shape of the scapulothoracic gliding surface

  • Tomas PaquetEmail author
  • Robin Van Den Broecke
  • Stijn Casier
  • Jan Van Houcke
  • Lieven De Wilde
  • Alexander Van Tongel
Original Article



The aim of the study is to evaluate the difference in shape of the upper part and lower part of the Scapulothoracic Gliding Surface (STGS).


3D-CT images of the thoracic cage of 50 patients were created in MIMICS ®. Three anatomical landmarks (insertion m. serratus anterior on 5th rib; transverse process of 2th and 7th vertebra) were used as an anteroposterior cutting plane to define the STGS. The upper part of the STG was defined as rib 2–5 and the lower part as 5–8. Next, in MATLAB ®, a script was used to create the sphere with best fit for upper and lower parts of STGS. The Root-Square-Mean Error (RSME) (mm) between two closest points on the fitted sphere and the STGS of both parts were calculated to determine the goodness-of-fit.


The RSME was found to be significantly lower for the area ribs 2–5 (mean 7.85 mm, SD 1.86) compared the area of ribs 5–8 (mean 10.08 mm, SD 1.90).


The STGS of the upper thoracic wall (2–5) is more spherical shaped than the STGS of the lower thoracic wall (rib 5–8).


Anatomy Ellipsoid Thorax Scapula Motion 



We want to thank Emmanuel Audenaert for his technical support.

Author contributions

Casier: data collection. De Wilde: protocol/project development. Paquet: data collection and management, data analysis, manuscript writing, and editing. Van Den Broucke: data collection and management, data analysis, and manuscript writing. Van Houcke: data management. Van Tongel: protocol/project development and manuscript writing/editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

No conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Al participants were given informed consent.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and TraumatologyGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium

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