Association between Rotator Cuff Muscle Size and Glenoid Deformity in Primary Glenohumeral Osteoarthritis

Alexander W. Aleem, Peter N. Chalmers, Daniel Bechtold, Adam Z. Khan, Robert Z. Tashjian, Jay D. Keener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background:Although glenoid morphology has been associated with fatty infiltration of the rotator cuff in arthritic shoulders, the association of rotator cuff muscle area with specific patterns of glenoid wear has not been studied. The purpose of our study was to assess the associations of glenoid deformity in primary glenohumeral osteoarthritis and rotator cuff muscle area.Methods:A retrospective study of 370 computed tomographic (CT) scans of osteoarthritic shoulders was performed. Glenoid deformity according to the modified Walch classification was determined, and retroversion, inclination, and humeral-head subluxation were calculated using automated 3-dimensional software. Rotator cuff muscle area was measured on sagittal CT scan reconstructions. A ratio of the area of the posterior rotator cuff muscles to the subscapularis was calculated to approximate axial plane potential force imbalance. Univariate and multivariate analyses to determine associations with glenoid bone deformity and rotator cuff measurements were performed.Results:Patient age and sex were significantly related to cuff muscle area across glenoid types. Multivariate analysis did not find significant differences in individual rotator cuff cross-sectional areas across glenoid types, with the exception of a larger supraspinatus area in Type-B2 glenoids compared with Type-A glenoids (odds ratio [OR], 1.5; p = 0.04). An increased ratio of the posterior cuff area to the subscapularis area was associated with increased odds of a Type-B2 deformity (OR, 1.3; p = 0.002). Similarly, an increase in this ratio was significantly associated with increased glenoid retroversion (beta = 0.92; p = 0.01) and humeral-head subluxation (beta = 1.48; p = 0.001). Within the Type-B glenoids, only posterior humeral subluxation was related to the ratio of the posterior cuff to the subscapularis (beta = 1.15; p = 0.001).Conclusions:Age and sex are significantly associated with cuff muscle area in arthritic shoulders. Asymmetric glenoid wear and humeral-head subluxation in osteoarthritis are associated with asymmetric atrophy within the rotator cuff transverse plane. Increased posterior rotator cuff muscle area compared with anterior rotator cuff muscle area is associated with greater posterior glenoid wear and subluxation. It is unclear if the results are causative or associative; further research is required to clarify the relationship.Level of Evidence:Prognostic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1912-1920
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - American Volume
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 6 2019


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