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We describe an arthroscopic technique for the management of glenoid rim fractures. It is performed with the patient placed in lateral decubitus position. The fracture is assessed through the anterosuperior portal, and the fragment is mobilized. A special glenoid guide is used from the posterior portal to reduce the fragment and to create 2 tunnels through the glenoid and through the glenoid rim fragment. Two pairs of round buttons are connected with high-strength sutures and are tightened posteriorly. This allows strong fixation of the fractured fragment and avoids all the anterior structures since all the instruments are inserted posteriorly.
See video under supplementary data.
Anterior shoulder dislocation is a common injury in the young and athletic population. This injury pattern usually disrupts the capsuloligamentous complex, leading to the well-known Bankart lesion. However, in some cases, this injury provokes a fracture of the antero-inferior glenoid rim, the so-called Bony Bankart lesion. All the aforementioned are the results of violent contact of the humeral head with the anterior rim of the glenoid during the dislocation. This lesion results in glenohumeral instability and may lead to osteoarthritis of the glenohumeral joint in the long term. Glenoid rim fractures are classified into 3 types according to the Bigliani classification (Table 1).
Surgical treatment often is considered to manage these injuries, especially when the fracture is displaced or the fragment is large enough. The results of arthroscopic surgery have steadily improved, such that recent studies comparing current arthroscopic techniques with open procedures report similar rates of recurrence. However, there are many authors who prefer open reduction and internal fixation techniques for the treatment of this type of injury.
The aim of this technical note is to describe an all-arthroscopic approach concerning the surgical management of the type I and II glenoid rim fractures according to the Bigliani classification, when the width of the fragment is more than 1 cm. Two pairs of round buttons, connected with No. 5 high-strength orthopaedic sutures, stabilize the bony fragment to the anterior glenoid rim. This technique allows an anatomic and strong fixation of the glenoid rim fracture in a reproducible manner, avoiding open surgery as well as major neurovascular complications.
The patient is placed in lateral decubitus position under general anesthesia. The affected shoulder is placed at 70° of abduction and 15° of forward flexion with 3 kg of traction. A fluid control system is used. The arthroscope is introduced through the posterior portal, standard anterosuperior and anteroinferior portals are created, and 75-mm cannulas are positioned.
A standard diagnostic examination of the glenohumeral joint is performed to record the characteristics of the fracture (Fig 1), the attachments of the capsuloligamentous complex to the bony fragment, and possible concomitant injuries. The fractured fragment is mobilized with an elevator, and its capsular attachments are kept intact. A shaver is used to debride the bony surfaces. A traction suture is passed through capsule and labrum to the inferior and the superior edge of the fracture to manipulate the fragment. With the help of an elevator and the traction sutures, the bony fragment is reduced to the proper position.
Keeping the arthroscope in the anterosuperior portal a small release to the anterior capsule performed and a special posterior glenoid guide (Fig 2) is passed through the posterior portal. The hook tip of this guide is passed along the glenoid, anterior to the fragment, and positioned to the center of the bony fragment (Fig 3). The guide should be parallel with the glenoid surface and in contact with it. Therefore, a new accessory portal is created, in cases that the posterior portal is not suitable. When the position is optimal, a bullet is placed through each one of the guide holes and is driven into contact with the posterior glenoid. A 2.8-mm sleeved drill guide is advanced carefully through each one of the bullets, drilling the glenoid from posterior to anterior and then through the bony fragment.
When the drill bits are withdrawn, the metal sleeves are left in place to secure the reduction. Two guidewires are passed through the metal sleeves from posterior to anterior and through the fracture and retrieved from the anteroinferior cannula. Each guidewire is loaded with an anterior Endobutton (Smith & Nephew, Watford, UK) that holds a high strength orthopaedic suture. This is a Νo. 5 suture made from ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene. The sutures are retrieved through the tunnels from posterior and the buttons come in contact with the bony fragment (Fig 4). Then, 2 posterior buttons are attached to the sutures and are tensioned with a special device (tensioner). The tension that is applied to the sutures is of 150 N. Eventually, the buttons are secured to the posterior wall of the glenoid with the doubled-suture Nice knot.
The operated shoulder is protected using a sling for 6 weeks. The patient is allowed to remove the sling to perform gentle exercises and for activities of daily living as long as the motion of the shoulder is pain-free and restricted to the front part of the body (90° of forward flexion, internal rotation to the belly, and no more than 10° of external rotation). Active assisted exercises are started during the fourth postoperative week with the range of motion increased gradually. Overhead activities are allowed 3 months postoperatively and sporting activities after 6 months, increasing gradually (Video 1).
The main goal of surgical treatment of a glenoid rim fracture is to restore the anatomy of the normal joint surface (Fig 5), to achieve a strong fixation and bone healing to prevent recurrent shoulder instability. Currently, there is no gold standard for the treatment of large glenoid rim fractures. Numerous surgical techniques have been described in the literature concerning their management. The evolution of shoulder arthroscopy gave birth to new surgical options for the treatment of these lesions.
Arthroscopic fixation of fractures of the glenoid rim gained wider acceptance, succeeding in most cases anatomic reduction and healing of the glenoid fracture, with excellent clinical results.
The benefits of using arthroscopic procedures for surgical stabilization of the shoulder are beneficial, including less soft-tissue dissection, better visualization of the joint pathology, improved accessibility, and easier rehabilitation.
A great advantage of the aforementioned described technique is the safety of the procedure, using standard arthroscopic portals and avoiding the major neurovascular structures at the anterior part of the shoulder, since all the guides are inserted posteriorly. The initial idea for this technique has been given by the method described by Taverna et al.,
concerning the management of anterior inferior glenohumeral instability by arthroscopic bone grafting procedure. Another great advantage is the avoidance of metal screws near the joint, as only small round buttons and sutures are used to achieve fracture reduction and fixation. So, in case of possible failure and recurrence, there is no need for hardware removal, which makes the revision surgery less difficult (Table 3).
Table 3Advantages and Disadvantages of the All-Arthroscopic Glenoid Rim Fracture Treatment
All the benefits of an arthroscopic procedure.
Can performed only in acute cases and fragments bigger than 1 cm.
Safe procedure avoiding neurovascular structures working through standard arthroscopic portals.
Essential to use special equipment such as a special glenoid guide and cannulated drills.
No use of potentially harmful hardware such as screws.
Advanced arthroscopic skills are required.
In cases of failure or recurrence, a less-difficult revision surgery.
The aforementioned procedure is safe, having the general risks of an arthroscopic procedure (considering anesthesia, positioning, etc.). Additional care should be taken to avoid breakage of the fractured fragment when the drill bits are inserted or during the reduction and the compression with buttons.
Limitations of the procedure are the following. The size of the fragment must be larger than 1 cm and is essential not to be comminuted. The time between the injury and the intervention is essential. This method is applied in acute cases and is not indicated in chronic cases and malunions.
In conclusion, this study describes a technique that uses special instrumentation for the reduction of the bony fragment and 2 pairs of round buttons and high-strength (ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene) sutures for the fixation of the glenoid rim fracture. This is a very safe, all-arthroscopic technique with very strong fixation and stabilization of the fracture.
This is a surgical technique video describing an arthroscopic glenoid rim fracture treatment using round buttons. The patient is placed in lateral decubitus position under general anesthesia. The affected right shoulder is placed at 70° of abduction and 15° of forward flexion with 3 kg of traction. The arthroscope is introduced through the posterior portal, and standard anterosuperior and anteroinferior portals are created. A motorized shaver is used to debride the bony surfaces. The fractured fragment is mobilized with an elevator. A traction suture is passed through capsule and labrum to the inferior edge and to the superior edge of the fracture to manipulate the fragment and reduce to proper position. Keeping the arthroscope in the anterosuperior portal, a small release to anterior capsule performed and a special posterior glenoid guide is passed through the posterior portal. The hook tip of the guide is passed along the glenoid, anterior to the fragment, and positioned to the center of the bony fragment (Fig 3). The guide should be parallel with the glenoid surface and in contact with it. When the position is optimal, a bullet is placed in each hole of the guide and is driven into contact with the posterior glenoid. A 2.8-mm sleeved drill guide is advanced carefully in each bullet, drilling the glenoid from posterior to anterior and then through the bony fragment. When the inner drill and the glenoid guide are withdrawn, the outer metal sleeves are left in place, 5 mm below the glenoid surface parallel to each other and 10-mm apart to secure the reduction. Two flexible guide wires are passed through the metal sleeves in a posterior-to-anterior direction and through the fracture and retrieved from the anteroinferior cannula. Each guidewire is loaded with an anterior special button that holds a high-strength orthopaedic suture. The sutures are retrieved through the tunnels in an anterior-to-posterior direction, and the buttons come in contact with the bony fragment. Then, 2 posterior buttons are attached to the sutures and are tensioned with a suture tensioner. Eventually, the buttons are secured to the posterior wall of the glenoid with the doubled-suture Nice knot. Finally, the anterior capsule is repaired to the glenoid.
The authors report that they have no conflicts of interest in the authorship and publication of this article. Full ICMJE author disclosure forms are available for this article online, as supplementary material.