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Shoulder & Elbow

Patient-specific planning in shoulder arthroplasty

influencing the learning curve for assessment of the glenoid and surgical planning

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Patient-specific instrumentation has been shown to increase a surgeon’s precision and accuracy in placing the glenoid component in shoulder arthroplasty. There is, however, little available information about the use of patient-specific planning (PSP) tools for this operation. It is not known how these tools alter the decision-making patterns of shoulder surgeons. The aim of this study was to investigate whether PSP, when compared with the use of plain radiographs or select static CT images, influences the understanding of glenoid pathology and surgical planning.


A case-based survey presented surgeons with a patient’s history, physical examination, and, sequentially, radiographs, select static CT images, and PSP with a 3D imaging program. For each imaging modality, the surgeons were asked to identify the Walch classification of the glenoid and to propose the surgical treatment. The participating surgeons were grouped according to the annual volume of shoulder arthroplasties that they undertook, and responses were compared with the recommendations of two experts.


A total of 59 surgeons completed the survey. For all surgeons, the use of the PSP significantly increased agreement with the experts in glenoid classification (x2 = 8.54; p = 0.014) and surgical planning (x2 = 37.91; p < 0.001). The additional information provided by the PSP also showed a significantly higher impact on surgical decision-making for surgeons who undertake fewer than ten shoulder arthroplasties annually (p = 0.017).


The information provided by PSP has the greatest impact on the surgical decision-making of low volume surgeons (those who perform fewer than ten shoulder arthroplasties annually), and PSP brings all surgeons in to closer agreement with the recommendations of experts for glenoid classification and surgical planning.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(3):365–370

Correspondence should be sent to Jon J. P. Warner; E-mail:

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