Bone loss of the glenoid and humerus

The shoulder is a highly flexible joint made up of the humerus (upper arm bone) and glenoid (socket in the shoulder blade) and is stabilized by the shoulder capsule (strong connective tissue). A shoulder dislocation occurs when the end of the upper arm moves out of the shoulder socket. The arm may be forced out of the socket as a result of an accident or injury, or repeated overhead motion of the arm. If the structure of the glenoid is compromised due to bone loss after injury, it can result in recurrent shoulder dislocations.

Symptoms of repeated shoulder dislocation include shoulder pain, weakness, giving out, and a sensation of in-and-out slipping of the joint.

When you present to the clinic with these symptoms, your doctor will review your history and examine the shoulder joint for ligament laxity. Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans and MRI scans may be ordered to check for bone loss and identify tendon or ligament injuries.

Chronic shoulder dislocation is treated conservatively if you are not a good candidate for surgery. This may include activity modification to prevent further damage, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication to relieve pain and swelling, and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles that stabilize the shoulder joint.

Surgery is the treatment of choice for recurrent dislocations with glenoid bone loss. Surgical treatment may include minimally invasive arthroscopy to repair soft tissue injuries. To prevent recurrent dislocations, glenoid reconstruction may be required using an artificial prosthesis (arthroplasty) or bone grafting.

  • NYU Langone Hospitals link
  • NYU Langone Health link
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons link
  • Arthroscopy Association of North America link
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine link
  • American Shoulder And Elbow Surgeons link