Sandra E. Inouye, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair

Midwestern University
College of Osteopathic Medicine
College of Dental Medicine-- Illinois
Department of Anatomy
Science Hall 542-J
555 31st St.
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Office: (630) 515-6132


B.S. Anthropology University of California, Davis 1985
M.A. Anthropology Northwestern University 1987
Ph.D. Anthropology Northwestern University 1994


Ontogenetic variation, function, and evolution of the human and non-human primate postcranial skeleton

I am interested in the comparative anatomy of the human and non-human primate postcranial skeleton and how these variations reflect differences in locomotor movement and function of the skeleton.  In particular, my goal is to better understand how patterns of relative growth may play a part in the skeletal differences that we see among the closely related great apes (chimpanzees, gorilla, orangutans) and humans. In this way, we may better understand how human bipedalism evolved from a common ancestor that we shared with the living great apes.

In addition to anthropological questions, I also focus on how human variation in the postcranial anatomy impacts orthopaedic surgical approaches. With my collaborator, Nathan Fanter, D.O., using cadaveric material, we examine how natural human variation in soft tissue and skeletal structures may influence surgical approaches associated with the lower limb.

Research projects

Project I:

A Jones fracture is a fracture of the proximal fifth metatarsal, immediately distal to its tuberosity.  Chronic stress is a common cause of this type of fracture, particularly in athletes.  Intramedullary (IM) screw fixation is a popular surgical treatment for athletes due to the purported rapid bony union rates and subsequent decrease in recovery time.  However, this procedure is not without risk due to fracturing the metatarsal diaphysis as a result of the natural bowing of the metatarsal and intramedullary canal.

In this project, we are examining the surgical protocol for treatment of a Jones Fracture via cannulated stainless steel screw fixation in a cadaveric population.  A thorough understanding of the consequence of this surgical treatment on the fifth metatarsal and its potential effect on the lateral tarsometatarsal joint will assist the orthopaedic surgeon in proper insertion of the screw into the metatarsal medullary cavity.

Project II:

The thyrocervical trunk is described as a branch of the subclavian artery, most commonly giving rise to the suprascapular artery and cervicodorsal trunk (transverse cervical artery) laterally, and terminating as the inferior thyroid and ascending cervical arteries.  This case reports an unusual finding from a study on thyrocervical trunk variation that has not been well documented in the literature: a rare arterial branching pattern in which the inferior thyroid artery, transverse cervical artery, and suprascapular artery arise independently from the subclavian artery. This region of the body is a common site of invasive procedures; therefore, it is critical to be aware of the extent and frequency of variation in arterial branching patterns.

Selected Publications

Fanter, N. J., Inouye, S. E., Beiser, C. W.  The risk of iatrogenic injury to anterior tibial artery variations during tibial nail distal interlocking: A cadaveric study.  Journal of Othropaedic Surgery, 2017, 25(1):1-7.

Fanter, N. J., Inouye S. E., McBryde A.M. Jr.  Safety of Ankle Trans-Syndesmotic Fixation.  Foot Ankle International, 2010, May;31(5):433-40. doi: 10.3113/FAI.2010.0433.

Inouye, S. E. and B. T. Shea.  The implications of variation in knuckle-walking feature for models of African hominoid locomotor evolution.  In E. Bruner (Ed):  Shape Meets Function:  Structural Models in PrimatologyJournal of Anthropological Sciences, 2004, 82:67-88.

Inouye, S. E.  Intraspecific and ontogenetic variation in forelimb morphology of Gorilla.  In  A. B. Taylor and M. L. Goldsmith (Eds):  Gorilla Biology:  A Multidisciplinary Perspective.  Pp. 194-235.  2003. Cambridge University Press.