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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2012 May;21(5):675-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2011.03.023. Epub 2011 Jun 29.

Total shoulder replacement surgery with custom glenoid implants for severe bone deficiency.

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  • 1Howard Memorial Hospital, Willits, CA, USA.



Treatment of patients with shoulder arthritis and severe glenoid bone loss is controversial. Medial and posterior bone loss limits the size of the glenoid vault, which is the structural support of all current glenoid designs. This study presents short-term outcomes of a treatment using inset glenoid implants during shoulder replacement surgery in deficient glenoid bone.


This study presents short-term outcomes of total shoulder replacement surgery using custom inset glenoid implants in deficient glenoid bone. Seven consecutive patients (3 men, 4 women; mean age 70 years) treated with inset glenoid implants for severe bone deficiency were retrospectively evaluated at a minimum 3-year follow-up. Severely deficient bone was defined by a neutral glenoid vault depth of less than 15 mm. No bone grafts were used. All patients were evaluated before and after surgery with physical examination, radiographic studies, and outcome measures. All patients had a diagnosis of osteoarthritis. No patients had rotator cuff tears or a history of instability.


No surgical complications occurred. At an average of 4.3 years, the mean American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeon score improved 68 points. There were statistically significant improvements in range of motion (forward flexion 33°, external rotation 34°, internal rotation 6 spinal levels) and in pain (6.9 to 0.1). Independent radiographic analysis determined all implants were classified as "low risk" for glenoid loosening.


The treatment of shoulder arthritis with severe glenoid bone loss is controversial and the results are mixed. Current treatments consist of hemiarthroplasty with or without glenoid reaming, total shoulder replacement without version correction, and total shoulder replacement with bulk bone grafting and version correction. The surgical technique and clinical results described in this case series demonstrate a novel approach of inset glenoid fixation for severely deficient bone.


This study documents for the first time the possibility of safely and effectively using inset glenoid implants to reconstruct deficient bone for which standard implants are contraindicated.

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