This study was undertaken to evaluate whether sonography is a useful tool in the diagnosis of soft tissue disorders as a possible cause for discomfort and/or pain after shoulder arthroplasty.

Static and dynamic ultrasound examinations were performed in the standard sectional planes on 22 patients with 25 hemiprostheses and the results were correlated with the clinical outcome. The stability was determined in the transverse and frontal planes and the clinical results were evaluated according to the Constant and Swanson scores.

Several pathological changes were detected: rotator cuff lesions, subdeltoid bursitis, changes around the long biceps tendon as well as an increase in intra-articular volume due to effusion and/or synovitis. The correlation of sonographic and clinical results demonstrated that patients with an excellent clinical result showed no or only a few pathological findings on sonography compared with those with a moderate or poor result.

Pathological changes of the periarticular tissue in the direct neighbourhood of the implant can be detected by sonography, which can be recommended as a valuable examination technique to evaluate the soft tissue in patients after shoulder arthroplasty.