Os acromiale

A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

Os acromiale represents an unfused accessory centre of ossification of the acromion of the scapula

Os acromiale are relatively common, seen in ~8% (range 1-15%) of the population 1,2 and may be bilateral in 60% of individuals 5.

They are usually asymptomatic. There is no statistical difference in the incidence of supraspinatus and infraspinatus tears between patients with os acromiale and a normal control group 3

A step-off deformity of the os acromiale is associated with a greater incidence of rotator cuff tears than those without such deformity 3


The subtypes develop due to the fusion pattern of the three acromial ossification centers (preacromion, mesoacromion and metacromion) 4 and are classified on their pattern of articulation with the acromion (from proximal to distal) 5:

  • basi-acromial
  • meta-acromial
  • meso-acromial
  • pre-acromial

Meta- and meso-acromional are the most common 5

The acromion normally has a secondary centre of ossification which usually fuses to the rest of the acromion by the age of 25. An os acromiale merely represents the persistence of this centre without fusion. It is thought to increase the risk of shoulder impingement presumably due to increased mobility.

It may cause shoulder impingement, rotator cuff tear or degenerative acromioclavicular joint disease 5

Acromial apophysiolysis in young patients is considered a risk factor for the development of an os acromiale.

Plain radiograph

The unfused anterior acromial ossification center is best seen on axillary views.

  • os acromiale readily identified in patients with pathology (e.g. rotator cuff tears)
  • advantage of dynamic imaging and reproducing symptoms 6

An os acromiale is readily identified if care is taken to examine the acromion as it can easily be mistaken for the normal acromioclavicular joint

Upper limb anatomy
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Article information

rID: 1783
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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Cases and figures

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