Radiolucent lines (RLL) are frequent findings around cemented all-polyethylene glenoid implants. The present study evaluates the frequency, extend and the clinical impact of RLL around a cemented two-pegged glenoid implant with special focus on the influence of preoperative glenoid morphology. Our hypothesis was that glenoid morphology does not affect clinical outcome and RLL in the investigated setting.

Between 2003 and 2008, a total of 113 cases of total shoulder arthroplasties (Affinis, Mathys Ltd Bettlach, Switzerland) were performed in three surgical centres using a pegged cemented polyethylene glenoid component. A total of 90 cases could be evaluated clinically and radiographically. Clinical outcome was analysed using the constant score (CS) and range of motion assessment. Radiographic evaluation was performed in true anterior-posterior and axial views with special focus on loosening and RLL. Further, preoperative glenoid morphology was documented and its correlation to radiolucent lines and clinical outcomes was evaluated.

At a mean of 58.8 (range 31.2-92.5)-month follow-up the CS improved from 21.5 points preoperatively to 62.3 points postoperatively. Radiolucent lines were found in 76.6 % of cases. If present, RLL were located at the backside of the implant (74.4 %) in the majority of the cases not around the pegs (10 %). There was no significant correlation between RLL and clinical outcome or follow-up time. The amount and extend of RLL were correlated to glenoid morphology with significantly higher values for glenoid types B2 and C according to Walch in comparison to glenoid types A1, A2 and B1.

RLL did not affect clinical outcome and did not correlate with the follow-up time. Patients with glenoid morphology types B2 and C showed significantly worse radiographic results.

Level IV case series study.