Gorham-Stout Disease of the Shoulder: Clinical, Pathologic and Therapeutic Considerations



1 1-The Rothman Institute, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA, USA 2-Faculty of Medicine, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon 3-College of Medical, Veterinary, and Life

2 Department of Neurological Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

3 Neuroscience Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon

4 The Rothman Institute The Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University


Background: Gorham-Stout disease (GSD) is a rare skeletal disorder characterized by massive osteolysis of a bony area in the body. When it hits the shoulder, the patient is faced with a debilitating limitation in terms of motion, stability and quality of life. GSD etiology and pathology are unknown and, as a result, therapeutic modalities remain unclear. The aim of this paper is to explore and offer medical insight into the possible etiologies, pathologies and therapeutic modalities of Gorham-Stout Disease in the shoulder.

Methods: We explored PubMed/Medline for GSD cases in the shoulder. The search involved all articles published from database inception until February 1, 2019. Only articles published in English were included. Demographics and clinical information extrapolated from the reported cases were analyzed to deduce patterns and infer conclusions.

Results: Only 32 studies met our criteria, with a total of 37 cases (n=37). Males predominated in 21 cases (57%). Twelve cases (32%) were younger than 18 years, and 18 cases (49%) were aged between 18 and 65 years. Shoulder pain was the predominant reporting symptom. The humerus was the most common shoulder site affected (54%), followed by the scapula (35%) and the clavicle (30%). Almost half of the cases affected the right shoulder (51%), the left shoulder was affected in 16 cases (43%). Conservative treatment was opted in 17 cases (46%), while surgery was performed in 13 cases (35%). Good outcomes were reported in 28 cases (76%), while death occurred twice (5%).

Conclusion: Understanding the demographics and clinical characteristics of GSD in the shoulder region will help in formulating better therapeutic interventions and preventive health policies.


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