The purpose of this study was to determine the morphologic characteristics of the glenoid osteophyte and its relationship to rotator cuff tears. Eighty-six cadaveric shoulders were studied. After inspection of cuff pathology, the glenoid was examined with soft x-rays. Histologically, degenerative changes of the articular cartilage and the labrum were assessed. There were 30 shoulders with rotator cuff tears (35%). Two types of glenoid osteophyte were identified: angular and hooked. Both osteophytes were commonly observed in the anterior to inferior portions of the glenoid. The length of hooked osteophytes was significantly greater in shoulders with full-thickness tears (2.7 ± 2.2 mm [mean ± SD]) than in those with other cuff conditions (P = .0058). The hooked osteophyte was more commonly observed in shoulders with full-thickness tears (43%) and associated with degenerative changes of the cartilage and labrum. We conclude that the hooked osteophyte of the glenoid is characteristic in shoulders with full-thickness tears of the rotator cuff.
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