Hypoplasia of the Glenoid Neck of the Scapula: Imaging Findings and Report of 16 Patients

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Our purpose was to describe the primary and associated imaging findings in patients with glenoid hypoplasia required for an accurate diagnostic appraisal of this uncommon abnormality.


The medical records and imaging studies of 16 patients with glenoid hypoplasia were retrospectively reviewed. Plain films were available in all patients, arthrography in 2, computed tomography (CT) in 5, CT arthrotomography in 3, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in 9, and MR arthrography in 3 patients. The imaging studies were reviewed with special attention to the primary and secondary findings associated with glenoid hypoplasia.


On radiographs, the 21 abnormal shoulders documented in the 16 patients with glenoid hypoplasia had an irregular (n = 15) or shallow and smooth (n = 6) articular surface of the glenoid. Computed tomography findings showed subluxation of the humeral head in 5 cases. On MR images, the hypoplastic bony glenoid and scapular neck were replaced by abnormal tissue of inhomogeneous signal intensity, showing the signal intensity characteristics of fibrocartilage (n = 6) or fat (n = 5). Widening of the inferior glenohumeral joint space was seen in all cases. Magnetic resonance imaging or MR arthrography revealed variable abnormalities of the labrum, including enlargement (10 shoulders), detachment of labrum from the bony glenoid (6 shoulders), intrasubstance tear (4 shoulders), and perilabral cyst (2 shoulders). The posterior labrum was absent (n = 1) or torn (n = 1) in one patient with bilateral deformity. Other findings included partial tear of the subscapularis tendon (n = 1) and rotator cuff atrophy (n = 1) and tear (n = 2).


Glenoid hypoplasia is a developmental skeletal anomaly comprising a spectrum of associated osseous and cartilaginous changes of the articular cartilage and glenoid labrum. Cross-sectional imaging studies, with or without arthrography, may help further characterize associated derangements of the shoulder, some of which are indicative of shoulder instability.

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