Glenohumeral Chondrolysis: Part I—Clinical Presentation and Predictors of Disease Progression


      The objective of this 2-part study is to report on the etiology, clinical findings, and predictors of disease progression (part I) and the results of treatment (part II) in a group of patients with glenohumeral chondrolysis.


      Forty patients presented with glenohumeral chondrolysis after treatment elsewhere. Twenty patients have been followed up since their initial presentation before arthroplasty (group 1), and 20 patients were referred either for management of complications arising after prosthetic arthroplasty or for evaluation only (group 2).


      Thirty-seven patients received an intra-articular pain pump (IAPP) delivering bupivacaine, and 3 patients had prominent suture anchors or tacks. Symptoms related to chondrolysis developed in patients at a mean of 9.8 months (range, 1 to 34 months) after the index procedure. Radiographs showed joint space obliteration in 30 of 40 patients at most recent follow-up or before arthroplasty. Of the patients receiving an IAPP delivering bupivacaine, the majority received 0.5% with epinephrine. Higher bupivacaine dose (P < .05) and female gender (P < .05) were associated with a longer interval to onset of symptoms. In addition, a shorter interval to onset of symptoms predicted the need for subsequent surgery (P < .05) and a shorter interval to second-look arthroscopy (P < .001).


      Post-arthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis is a devastating and rapidly evolving condition that most often strikes young patients. The use of IAPPs delivering local anesthetics should be abandoned because nearly all cases of glenohumeral chondrolysis in this series were associated with their use.

      Level of Evidence

      Level IV, therapeutic case series.
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