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Systematic Review

Reporting of glenoid bone loss measurement in clinical studies and the need for standardization

a systematic review

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The amount of glenoid bone loss is an important factor in deciding between soft-tissue and bony reconstruction when managing anterior shoulder instability. Accurate and reproducible measurement of glenoid bone loss is therefore vital in evaluation of shoulder instability and recommending specific treatment. The aim of this systematic review is to identify the range methods and measurement techniques employed in clinical studies treating glenoid bone loss.


A systematic review of the PubMed, MEDLINE, and Embase databases was undertaken to cover a ten-year period from February 2011 to February 2021. We identified clinical studies that incorporated bone loss assessment in the methodology as part of the decision-making in the management of patients with anterior shoulder instability. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews (PRISMA) were used.


A total of 5,430 articles were identified from the initial search, of which 82 studies met the final inclusion criteria. A variety of imaging methods were used: three studies did not specify which modality was used, and a further 13 used CT or MRI interchangeably. There was considerable heterogeneity among the studies that specified the technique used to quantify glenoid bone loss. A large proportion of the studies did not specify the technique used.


This systematic review has identified significant heterogeneity in both the imaging modality and method used to measure glenoid bone loss. The recommendation is that as a minimum for publication, authors should be required to reference the specific measurement technique used. Without this simple standardization, it is impossible to determine whether any published paper should influence clinical practice or should be dismissed.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2022;104-B(1):12–18.

Correspondence should be sent to Simon Weil. E-mail:

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