Glenoid bone loss is a commonly encountered problem in complex primary and revision shoulder arthroplasty. Addressing glenoid bone loss is critical to avoid complications like early loosening, impingement, notching and instability. A large number of techniques like bone grafting using autograft or allograft, eccentric reaming, augmented base plates, patient-specific instrumentations and custom-made implants are available to tackle bone loss.

We prospectively collected the data of all patients with glenoid defects undergoing primary or revision reverse shoulder replacement between 2004 and 2017. This included demographic data, ranges of motion, Constant-Murley score and Subjective Shoulder Value (SSV). A pre-operative CT scan was done as well to plan the surgery and calculate the glenoid version. At each follow-up, the clinical function and shoulder scores were assessed. Additionally, the radiographs were assessed for graft incorporation, evidence of lysis and calculation of glenoid version.

Between 2004 and 2017, 37 patients underwent glenoid bone grafting during reverse shoulder arthroplasty. Average age was 72 years (range 46-88). Indications for surgery were cuff tear arthropathy (6 patients); revision of failed other prosthesis (23); primary osteoarthritis (4); rheumatoid arthritis (3); and second-stage revision for infection (1). The glenoid defect was contained in 24 patients, and therefore, impaction graft with a combination of bone graft substitute and/or humeral head autograft was performed. In 13 patients the glenoid defect was severe and uncontainable and therefore a graft-implant composite glenoid was implanted using humeral head autograft or allograft. Average follow-up was 3.6 years (range 1-10). Mean Constant score improved from 34 before surgery to 63 after surgery. Mean SSV score improved from 0.9/10 to 8.3/10. Active movements improved significantly with forward elevation increasing from 54° to 123°; abduction from 48° to 123°; external rotation from 24° to 38°; internal rotation from 57° to 70°. Radiographs at final follow-up showed no radiolucencies around the glenoid component and no evidence of loosening of the implant. In 2 cases there was a grade I notching. There was 100% survivorship at the last follow-up.

Impaction bone grafting along with structural grafting when required is an effective and reproducible way of managing severe glenoid bone loss. This technique gives consistent and good clinical and radiological results.

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