Glenohumeral Chondrolysis: Part II—Results of Treatment


      The objective of this 2-part study is to report on the etiology and disease progression (part I) and results of treatment (part II) of glenohumeral chondrolysis.


      Forty patients presented with glenohumeral chondrolysis after treatment elsewhere. Twenty patients have been followed since their initial presentation and before prosthetic shoulder arthroplasty (group 1), and 20 patients were referred either for management of complications arising after shoulder arthroplasty or for evaluation only (group 2). All patients underwent standardized clinical and radiographic examination and completed shoulder-specific self-assessment questionnaires at initial presentation and after prosthetic shoulder arthroplasty for patients in group 1.


      Thirty of 40 patients underwent subsequent arthroscopy for debridement, chondroplasty, capsular release, or a combination of these procedures. Of these, 23 patients (77%) required additional surgery, comprising 18 prosthetic shoulder arthroplasties performed at a mean 13 months of follow-up (range, 3 to 33 months), as well as 5 repeated arthroscopies. At most recent follow-up, 15 of 20 patients in group 1 had undergone shoulder arthroplasty, with improvements in active forward elevation from 92.6° to 140.0° (P < .0001), active abduction from 81.6° to 131.3° (P < .0001), active external rotation from 22.1° to 49.3° (P < .0001), and active internal rotation from the gluteal region to the T12 spinous process (P < .001). Pain scores improved from 6.4 to 3.4 (P < .01), and self-assessed outcome also improved significantly. Twelve patients in group 2 underwent shoulder arthroplasty, so overall 27 of 40 patients (68%) underwent prosthetic shoulder arthroplasty for chondrolysis at a mean of 32 months (range, 9 to 66 months) after the index procedure.


      Postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis is a devastating condition that strikes young patients, responds poorly to arthroscopic interventions, and often requires shoulder arthroplasty within a few years. Patients can expect improved range of motion and outcome after shoulder arthroplasty, but pain relief is often incomplete.

      Level of Evidence

      Level IV, therapeutic case series.
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