Shoulder instability in the setting of bipolar (glenoid and humeral head) bone loss: the glenoid track concept

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2014 Aug;472(8):2352-62. doi: 10.1007/s11999-014-3589-7.


Background: An assortment of variables has been used in predicting anterior shoulder instability resulting from pathologic engagement of Hill-Sachs lesions on the glenoid. The glenoid track is a unique biomechanical model that relates both Hill-Sachs and bony Bankart lesions to predict shoulder engagement. We examined the glenoid track concept to determine if it provides a model that unifies glenoid rim and humeral head bone loss in predicting engagement.

Questions/purposes: In this review we addressed two questions: (1) How are humeral head and glenoid rim bony defects and their interactions quantified? (2) Why is the concept of the glenoid track important?

Methods: We performed a systematic review of the literature using PubMed (MEDLINE) and OVID for biomechanical studies and peer-reviewed articles published until March 2013. Twenty-four studies fit the inclusion criteria. These were subdivided into four anatomic studies, four studies quantifying glenohumeral bone loss, nine studies biomechanically defining shoulder engagement, six studies analyzing current treatment models, and one clinical study to be included in the final review.

Results: Data demonstrate pathologic engagement is dependent on the medial margin of the Hill-Sachs lesion traveling outside the glenoid track. The width of the glenoid track decreases accordingly if there is a glenoid defect, making engagement more likely. Most treatment models focus on widening the glenoid track before addressing Hill-Sachs lesions.

Conclusions: The glenoid track uses both glenoid and humeral head bone loss to predict subsequent risk of humeral head engagement and possible dislocation. The glenoid track shows us that restoring the track to its natural width should be among the surgeon's first priority in restoring shoulder stability. Humeral head lesions, also known as Hill-Sachs lesions, are surgically addressed when they cause clinical symptoms. Symptoms arise when the medial margin of the defect engages the glenoid track.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Remodeling*
  • Glenoid Cavity / diagnostic imaging
  • Glenoid Cavity / pathology*
  • Glenoid Cavity / physiopathology
  • Glenoid Cavity / surgery
  • Humans
  • Humeral Head / diagnostic imaging
  • Humeral Head / pathology*
  • Humeral Head / physiopathology
  • Humeral Head / surgery
  • Joint Instability / diagnostic imaging
  • Joint Instability / etiology*
  • Joint Instability / pathology
  • Joint Instability / physiopathology
  • Joint Instability / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Shoulder Dislocation / diagnostic imaging
  • Shoulder Dislocation / etiology*
  • Shoulder Dislocation / pathology
  • Shoulder Dislocation / physiopathology
  • Shoulder Dislocation / surgery
  • Shoulder Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Shoulder Joint / pathology*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology
  • Shoulder Joint / surgery