Glenoid labrum

Last revised by Dr Henry Knipe on 21 Jul 2022

The glenoid labrum is a fibrocartilaginous structure that attaches as a rim to the articular cartilage of the glenoid fossa and serves to deepen and increase the surface area of the glenoid. In this capacity, it acts as a static stabilizer of the glenohumeral joint, resisting anterior and posterior movement, and preventing dislocation and subluxation at the extremes of the range of motion 4

The glenoid labrum is made of fibrocartilage, 3 mm thick and 4 mm wide although this is highly variable 4. On cross-section, the labrum can be triangular (more commonly) or round 4. Below the equatorial pole of the glenoid, the labrum becomes more rounded and smaller compared to superiorly where is more triangular in shape and larger. 

The glenoid labrum forms part of the periarticular fiber system that is continuous with the rotator interval as well as 4:

  • superiorly: tendon of the long head of biceps brachii
  • anteriorly:
  • inferiorly: inferior glenohumeral ligament consistenting of an anterior band, axillary pouch, and a posterior band

Arterial supply is from the ascending glenoid artery, branches of the suprascapular and circumflex scapular arteries, muscular branches of rotator cuff muscles, and anterior and posterior circumflex humeral arteries 5. Blood supply is also received from the underlying bony glenoid 5. The outer glenoid is vascular and the inner glenoid is avascular 4.

The glenoid labrum can be described in two ways 4:

  • clock face
    • 12 o'clock: superior
    • 3 o'clock: anterior
    • 6 o'clock: inferior
    • 9 o'clock: posterior
  • segments
    • superior
    • anterosuperior
    • anteroinferior
    • inferior
    • posteroinferior
    • posterosuperior

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