Glenohumeral joint instability

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2011 Jan;33(1):2-16. doi: 10.1002/jmri.22343.


Due to the configuration of its bony elements, the glenohumeral joint is the most mobile joint of the body, but also an inherently unstable articulation. Stabilization of the joint is linked to a complex balance between static and dynamic soft tissue stabilizers. Because of complex biomechanics, and the existence of numerous classifications and acronyms to describe shoulder instability lesions, this remains a daunting topic for most radiologists. In this article we provide a brief review of the anatomy of the glenohumeral joint, as well as the classifications and the pathogenesis of shoulder instability. Technical aspects related to the available imaging techniques (including computed tomography [CT] arthrography, magnetic resonance imaging [MRI], and MR arthrography) are reviewed. We then describe the imaging findings related to shoulder instability, focusing on those elements that are important to the clinician.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthrography / methods
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Joint Instability / diagnosis*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Shoulder Dislocation / diagnosis*
  • Shoulder Joint / diagnostic imaging*
  • Shoulder Joint / pathology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*