In this study, we describe a morphological classification for greater tuberosity fractures of the proximal humerus. We divided these fractures into three types: avulsion, split and depression. We retrospectively reviewed all shoulder radiographs showing isolated greater tuberosity fractures in a Level I trauma centre between July 2007 and July 2012. We identified 199 cases where records and radiographs were reviewed and included 79 men and 120 women with a mean age of 58 years (23 to 96). The morphological classification was applied to the first 139 cases by three reviewers on two occasions using the Kappa statistic and compared with the AO and Neer classifications. The inter- and intra-observer reliability of the morphological classification was 0.73 to 0.77 and 0.69 to 0.86, respectively. This was superior to the Neer (0.31 to 0.35/0.54 to 0.63) and AO (0.30 to 0.32/0.59 to 0.65) classifications. The distribution of avulsion, split and depression type fractures was 39%, 41%, and 20%, respectively. This classification of greater tuberosity fractures is more reliable than the Neer or AO classifications. These distinct fracture morphologies are likely to have implications in terms of pathophysiology and surgical technique.
Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2014;96-B:646–51.
No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.
This article was primary edited by P. R. E. Baird and first proof edited by D. Rowley.
- Received May 9, 2013.
- Accepted January 22, 2014.
- ©2014 The British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery