Imaging of shoulder arthropathies

Maria Douka, Evangelia E. Vassalou, Athena P. Plagou, Apostolos H. Karantanas


The glenohumeral joint is a complex anatomical structure characterised by hypermobility and large synovial and articular surfaces. Shoulder pain is a common clinical complaint in adults, related to a wide spectrum of disorders, including synovial disorders such as inflammatory and crystal-induced arthropathies, rotator cuff disease and osteonecrosis. Primary degenerative osteoarthritis is rarely seen because the glenohumeral joint is non-weight-bearing. In the presence of advanced osteoarthritis of the glenohumeral joint in patients without previous trauma or infection, radiologists should explore other underlying causes such as crystal-induced arthropathy and Charcot’s neuropathic arthropathy. Young adults may show early-onset osteoarthritis as a complication of previous trauma and long-standing synovial osteochondromatosis. This pictorial review presents the pathophysiology, important clinical aspects and the main imaging findings which allow an accurate diagnosis of glenohumeral joint arthritis.


Shoulder Joint/diagnostic imaging; Shoulder Joint/pathology; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Joint Diseases/diagnosis; Radiography; Osteoarthritis/diagnostic imaging

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