Glenoid Hypoplasia: A Report of 2 Patients

Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics

Christopher J. Lynch, BS,a John A.M. Taylor, DC,b and Dale J. Buchberger, MS, PT, DCc


Objective: This article discusses the imaging findings, clinical findings, and conservative chiropractic management of 2 patients with glenoid hypoplasia.

Clinical Features: Conventional radiographs of both patients revealed a hypoplastic glenoid bilaterally. Notch-like defects along with signs of degenerative disease were evident within the lower portion of the glenoid rims bilaterally in 1 patient and in the left glenoid rim of the other patient. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a degenerative cyst or cortical defect in one patient along the anterior humeral head. The second patient showed a small slightly lobulated cystic region just posterior to the glenoid rim, consistent with the appearance of a synovial or ganglion cyst. Computed tomography with 3-dimensional reconstruction in 1 patient confirmed the presence of large posterior and superior osteophytes arising from the significantly hypoplastic glenoid. These images also revealed a slight posterior subluxation of the humeral head, widening of the anterior glenohumeral joint space, and retroversion of the glenoid.

Intervention and Outcome: Treatment consisted of manual joint manipulation, soft tissue therapies, and therapeutic exercise for both patients. Both patients experienced improvements in symptoms, function, and physical examination findings.

Conclusions: Glenoid hypoplasia is a developmental anomaly of the scapular neck which is predominantly bilateral and symmetric. Cross-sectional imaging studies should be considered in patients with symptoms that fail to improve over time. Conservative chiropractic care may be effective in managing symptoms in patients with glenoid hypoplasia.
(J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2008;31:381-388)

Key Indexing Terms: Hypoplasia; Scapula; Shoulder; Chiropractic