Infraspinatus and deltoid length and patient height: implications for lateralization and distalization in reverse total shoulder arthroplasty

Peter N. Chalmers, Spencer R. Lindsay, Weston Smith, Jun Kawakami, Ryan Hill, Robert Z. Tashjian, Jay D. Keener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Restoration of muscular strength is predicated on restoration of muscle length. The purpose of this study was to describe infraspinatus and deltoid length preoperative to reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA) to guide distalization and lateralization to restore preoperative muscle length. Methods: This was a retrospective radiographic study. We measured the infraspinatus length on preoperative computed tomographic images and the deltoid length on preoperative radiographs. For all measurements, reliability was first established by comparing measurements between 2 observers, and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated. We then calculated descriptive statistics for these muscle lengths and developed a formula to predict these muscle lengths from patient demographics. Results: We measured infraspinatus length in 97 patients and deltoid length in 108 patients. Inter-rater reliability was excellent, with all ICCs >0.886. The mean infraspinatus length was 15.5 cm (standard deviation 1.3) and ranged from 12.6-18.9 cm, whereas the deltoid length was 16.2±1.7 cm and ranged from 12.5-20.2 cm. Both infraspinatus (r = 0.775, P <.001) and deltoid length (r = 0.717, P <.001) were highly correlated with patient height but did not differ between diagnoses. Formulae developed through linear regression allowed prediction of muscle length to within 1 cm in 78% and within 2 cm in 100% for the infraspinatus and 60% and 88% for the deltoid. Conclusion: Deltoid and infraspinatus length are variable but highly correlated with patient height. To maintain tension, 2 mm of lateralization and distalization should be added for every 6 inches (∼15 cm) of height above average for a Grammont-style RTSA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-719
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Anatomy Study
  • Imaging
  • Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty
  • deltoid
  • infraspinatus
  • shoulder
  • shoulder anatomy
  • shoulder arthroplasty


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