Reference Values for the Scalene Interval Width During Varying Degrees of Glenohumeral Abduction Using Ultrasonography

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Abstract

Objective:

The aim of this study was to establish reference values for the width of the interval between the anterior and middle scalene muscles using ultrasonography during varying degrees of glenohumeral joint (GH) abduction. Reliability and body mass index (BMI) data were also assessed.

Methods:

Interscalene triangles of asymptomatic participants were scanned bilaterally in the transverse plane. Images were obtained at 0°, 90°, and 150° of GH abduction with the participant seated. Width measurements were taken between the anterior and middle scalene muscle borders by bisecting the C6 nerve root as it passed superficial to the posterior tubercle of the C7 transverse process. Intra- and interexaminer reliability and BMI correlation were studied. Statistical significance was defined as P ≤ .05.

Results:

Images of 42 scalene intervals were included from 21 participants (11 female). Mean participant age was 25.3 ± 3.9 years; mean BMI was 25.4 ± 2.7 kg/m2. Scalene interval measurements at 0°, 90°, and 150° of GH abduction were 4.5 ± 0.5 mm, 4.6 ± 0.5 mm, and 4.4 ± 0.7 mm, respectively, without a significant difference (P = .07). Intraexaminer reliability was excellent (0°: intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] = 0.82; 90°: ICC = 0.89; 150°: ICC = 0.90). Interexaminer reliability was good to excellent (0°: ICC = 0.59; 90°: ICC = 0.85; 150°: ICC = 0.89). Body mass index was positively correlated only at 0° of GH abduction.

Conclusions:

This study establishes previously unreported reference ultrasonography values for the width of the scalene interval. Intraexaminer reliability was excellent at all glenohumeral positions, and interexaminer reliability was determined to be good to excellent. Body mass index was positively correlated only at 0° of GH abduction.

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