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Evaluation of shoulder balance in the normal adolescent population and its correlation with radiological parameters

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A descriptive clinical study in healthy adolescents was done to evaluate the clinical shoulder balance and analyze the correlation between clinical and radiological parameters which are currently used to evaluate shoulder balance. In addition to trunk shift and rib hump, shoulder balance is one of the criteria that are used to evaluate the outcomes in spinal deformity surgery. Several methods have been proposed to evaluate the shoulder balance in scoliotic patients; however, there is no uniformity to these methods in the current literature. Patients who applied to pediatric clinic without musculoskeletal pathology formed the patient population. Volunteers were asked to fill out a questionnaire assessing shoulder balance perception and had their clinical photograph taken simultaneously with a P–A chest X-ray. The clinical shoulder balance was evaluated through analysis of the clinical photograph. The X-rays were used to evaluate the radiological shoulder balance. The evaluated parameters included coracoid height difference (CHD), clavicular angle (CA), the clavicle–rib cage intersection difference (CRID), clavicular tilt angle difference (CTAD), and T1-tilt. The study group was composed of 48 male and 43 female patients with an average age of 13.6 ± 2.1 (10–18) years. In the questionnaire, all patients stated that their shoulders were level. The digital photographs revealed that only 17(18.7%) adolescents had absolutely level shoulders. The average height difference between shoulders was 7.5 ± 5.8 mm. The average CHD was 6.9 ± 5.8 mm, average CA was 2.2 ± 1.7°, average CRID was 4.8 ± 3.6 mm, average CTAD was 4 ± 3.2°, and average T1-tilt was 1.3 ± 1.4°. CHD, CA, and CRID demonstrated high correlation with clinical pictures, whereas CTAD demonstrated moderate and T1-tilt demonstrated only mild correlation. The radiological parameters used to evaluate the shoulder balance correlate with the clinical appearance. Contrary to popular belief, shoulder balance in healthy adolescents often does not exist.

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Correspondence to Muharrem Yazici.

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Akel, I., Pekmezci, M., Hayran, M. et al. Evaluation of shoulder balance in the normal adolescent population and its correlation with radiological parameters. Eur Spine J 17, 348–354 (2008).

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