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Investigating Gender and Ethnicity Differences in Proximal Humeral Morphology using a Statistical Shape Model

Morphological variability in the shoulder influences the joint biomechanics and is an important consideration in arthroplasty and implant design. The objectives of this study were to quantify cortical and cancellous proximal humeral morphology and to assess whether shape variation was influenced by gender and ethnicity, with the overarching goal of informing implant design and treatment. A statistical shape model of the proximal humeral cortical and cancellous regions was developed for a training set of 84 subjects of both genders and different ethnicities. Cortical and cancellous bone geometries were reconstructed from CT scans, meshed with triangular elements, and registered to a template. Principal component analysis was applied to quantify modes of variation. Anatomical measurements were computed on the registered geometries to assess correlation with modes of variation. Parallel analysis identified six significant modes of variation, which accounted for 93% of variation in the training set and described scaling (Mode 1), inclination of the head (Modes 2 and 5), and shape of the greater tuberosity and neck region (Modes 3, 4, and 6). Size differences as described by Mode 1 were statistically significant for gender and ethnicity, where female and Asian subjects were smaller than male and Caucasian subjects, respectively; however, differences in other modes were not significant. Cortical thickness of the shaft after normalization by outer diameter was significantly larger for Asian subjects compared to Caucasian subjects. The statistical shape model quantified cortical and cancellous humeral morphology considering gender and ethnicity, providing descriptive data to support surgical planning, and implant design.