Acromial Morphology and Subacromial Architecture in a South African Population

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Naidoo, N.; Lazarus, L.; Osman, S. A. & Satyapal, K. S.


The acromion is classically described as one of the three scapular processes. Its antero-inferior aspect has been identified as the prime region of rotator cuff pathology. The purpose of this study was to determine the morphologic state of the acromion and the relative subacromial architecture within a South African population. The sample series comprised the morphological observation of one hundred and eighty-two scapulae specimens (n= 182). The classification scheme as stated by Bigliani et al. (1986) was employed. The morphometric architecture of the subacromial space was also investigated (n= 120). (a) Acromial Type: (i) Type I (flat inferior surface) 34.6%; (ii) Type II (curved inferior surface) 51.1%; (iii) Type III (hooked inferior surface) 14%. (b) Shape of the subacromial space: (i) rhomboid 60.8% (ii) triangular 10%, (iii) trapezoid 29.2%. Since this study investigated the acromial morphology and its association with the relevant demographic factors specific to the South African population, it may prove beneficial to the South African population as a whole. In addition, statistically significant differences were obtained for the correlation of several morphometric and morphological parameters of the subacromial architecture with age, sex, acromial type and shape of subacromial space. A unique trapezoidal subacromial space was also observed. As the variable acromial types and subacromial morphology have been reported to lead to the narrowed subacromial space and subsequent subacromial syndromes, the association between the respective morphometric and morphological parameters may provide predictive values to assist in the diagnosis and assessment of the cause of rotator cuff disease.

KEY WORDS: Acromion; Morphology; Subacromial architecture; Morphometry.

How to cite this article

NAIDOO, N.; LAZARUS, L.; OSMAN, S. A. & SATYAPAL, K. S. Acromial morphology and subacromial architecture in a South African population. Int. J. Morphol., 33(3):817-825, 2015.