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General Orthopaedics

Impact of Posterior Glenoid Wear on Rotator Cuff Muscle Tension With Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

International Society for Technology in Arthroplasty (ISTA)



Posterior glenoid wear is common in glenohumeral osteoarthritis. Tightening of the subscapularis causes posterior humeral head subluxation and a posterior load concentration on the glenoid. The reduced contact area causes glenoid wear and potentially posterior instability. To correct posterior wear and restore glenoid version, surgeons may eccentrically ream the anterior glenoid to re-center the humeral head. However, eccentric reaming undermines prosthesis support by removing unworn anterior glenoid bone, compromises cement fixation by increasing the likelihood of peg perforation, and medializes the joint line which has implications on joint stability. To conserve bone and preserve the joint line when correcting glenoid version, manufacturers have developed posterior augment glenoids. This study quantifies the change in rotator cuff muscle length (relative to a nonworn/normal shoulder) resulting from three sizes of posterior glenoid defects using 2 different glenoids/reaming methods: 1) eccentric reaming using a standard (nonaugmented) glenoid and 2) off-axis reaming using an 8, 12, and 16° posterior augment glenoid.


A 3-D computer model was developed in Unigraphics (Siemens, Inc) to simulate internal/external rotation and quantify rotator cuff muscle length when correcting glenoid version in three sizes of posterior glenoid defects using posterior augmented and non-augmented glenoid implants. Each glenoid was implanted in a 3-D digitized scapula and humerus (Pacific Research, Inc); 3 sizes (small, medium, and large) of posterior glenoid defects were created in the scapula by posteriorly shifting the humeral head and medially translating the humeral head into the scapula in 1.5 mm increments. Five muscles were simulated as three lines from origin to insertion except for the subscapularis which was wrapped. After simulated implantation in each size glenoid defect, the humerus was internally/externally rotated from 0 to 40° with the humerus at the side. Muscle lengths were measured as the average length of the three lines simulating each muscle at each degree of rotation and compared to that at the corresponding arm position for the normal shoulder without defect to quantify the percentage change in muscle length for each configuration.


As depicted in Figures 1–3, muscle shortening was observed for each muscle for each size defect. For each size uncorrected defect, the subscapularis was observed to wrap around the anterior glenoid rim during internal rotation and with the arm at neutral; both eccentric successfully re-centered the humeral head and eliminate subscapularis wrapping around the anterior glenoid rim. However, eccentric reaming was also found to medialize the joint line and resulted in approximately 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5% additional muscle shortening for each muscle relative to the augmented glenoid in each size defect, respectively.

Discussion and Conclusions

This study demonstrates that posterior glenoid wear medializes the joint line and results in rotator cuff muscle shortening. Augmented glenoids offer the potential to better restore the joint line and minimize muscle shortening, particularly when used in large glenoid defects. Future work should investigate the clinical significance of 1.5–3.5% of muscle shortening and evaluate the functional impact of subscapularis wrapping around the anterior glenoid rim.