Glenoid bare spot

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 4 Oct 2022

Glenoid bare spot, also known as glenoid bare area, is a small central or slightly eccentric area of the inferior glenoid fossa, where the articular cartilage is markedly thinner or completely absent 2. It is considered to be a normal aging-related phenomenon 1.

The glenoid bare spot can be found in as much as 80-88% of adult cadavers 1,3. It is almost never observed in children <10 years 4,5 and not at all in fetuses 8. Its incidence seems to increase with age.

The etiology of the bare area is not fully understood - it was previously speculated that it is an acquired lesion due to repetitive stress 2,4,8. Recently, a developmental origin associated with fusion of glenoid ossification centers has been proposed 5.

It is a small (2-12mm of range), roughly round area of thinned cartilage that is located in the very center of inferior glenoid fossa 4,7 or slightly anterior to it 3,6. It is best appreciated using fluid-sensitive sequences like T2 FSE in coronal and axial planes.

It should not be accompanied by any pathologic changes of the underlying bony glenoid.

It is considered to be a normal aging-related phenomenon and should not be mistaken for cartilage ulceration or osteochondral defect.

Tubercle of Assaki is a similar phenomenon found in the same location as the bare spot.

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