The use of ultrasound in the assessment of the glenoid labrum of the glenohumeral joint. Part I: Ultrasound anatomy and examination technique

Wojciech Krzyżanowski

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2012; 12 (49): 164–177

The glenohumeral joint is a spherical articulation with a remarkable range of motion in several planes and decreased stability. The maintenance of joint stability is influenced by the functioning of specific muscle groups in the shoulder region, a complex system of ligaments reinforcing the joint capsule, and the labrum which augments the glenoid fossa. Lesions of the aforementioned structures require accurate diagnosis prior to a decision for operative treatment. Ultrasound is one of the imaging methods that has been widely used in the assessment of various shoulder pathologies. In the author opinion, this imaging modality may also be applied for the evaluation of labral tears. Being attached along the glenoid rim, the labrum forms a collar deepening the glenoid fossa thus increasing area of its contact with the head of the humerus. To better describe the location of lesions, the glenoid labrum is usually divided into certain zones. Most of them may be visualized sonographically. The US examination of the posterior labrum can be performed during evaluation of the infraspinatus and teres minor muscles. The anterior labrum along with capsulolabral complex is seen at the glenoid edge under the subscapularis tendon. Sonographic examination of the inferior labrum is best performed using axillar approach. The superior labrum is only partially available for US examination. A crucial part of the sonographic assessment of the labrum is the dynamic examination during rotation of the upper extremity. The paper presents normal sonographic anatomy of the glenoid labrum and technique of the examination.

glenoid labrum, glenohumeral joint, ultrasound anatomy, examination technique, glenohumeral joint imaging