Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery

Clinical and radiographic outcomes of cementless reverse total shoulder arthroplasty for proximal humeral fractures

Published:December 23, 2020DOI:


      Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA) has demonstrated successful outcomes in the treatment of both acute and chronic proximal humeral fractures (PHFs). The traditional RTSA surgical technique uses a methyl methacrylate cemented humeral component to restore and maintain both humeral height and retroversion. However, use of humeral bone cement has been associated intraoperatively with cardiopulmonary risk, increased operative cost, and postoperatively with difficulty if revision arthroplasty is required. We report the clinical and radiographic outcomes of a completely cementless RTSA technique for PHF surgery.


      Between 2013 and 2018, 60 consecutive patients underwent surgical management of a PHF with cementless RTSA. All surgical procedures were performed by a single senior shoulder surgeon using a modified deltopectoral approach and a completely uncemented RTSA technique. Fractures were defined as either acute or chronic based on a 4-week injury-to-surgery benchmark. The mean age was 67 years (range, 47-85 years). There were 18 acute and 42 chronic fractures. The mean time from injury to surgery was 2 weeks (range, 0.4-4 weeks) for acute fractures and 60 months (range, 1-482 months) for chronic fractures. We excluded 17 cases from postoperative evaluation because of revision and/or loss to follow-up. The remaining 43 cases underwent clinical and radiographic evaluation by 2 independent fellowship-trained shoulder surgeons at a mean of 21 months (range, 10-46 months) postoperatively. Independent statistical analysis was performed using the paired t test and Wilcoxon signed rank test.


      At final review, mean active anterior elevation was 157° (range, 100°-170°); active external rotation, 52° (range, 6°-80°); and active internal rotation, 66° (range, 0°-80°). Improvements were seen in the visual analog scale pain score (from 6 to 0.2, P < .001), Simple Shoulder Test score (from 9 to 93, P < .001), American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score (from 19 to 91, P < .001), and Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation score (from 21% to 89%, P < .001). Overall, 39 of 43 greater tuberosities (91%) demonstrated osseous healing to the humeral shaft. No significant differences in clinical and radiographic outcomes were found in acute vs. chronic cases, as well as cases with minimum follow-up of 1 year vs. 2 years. Overall, there were 4 major complications necessitating surgical revision (6.7%) and no cases of aseptic humeral stem loosening.


      Cementless RTSA for acute and chronic PHFs demonstrates clinical and radiographic outcomes similar to those after traditional cemented RTSA. The successful greater tuberosity healing and absence of humeral stem loosening in this short-term cohort are encouraging for the continued long-term success of this technique. By avoiding cemented humeral implants, surgeons may minimize intraoperative complications, operative cost, and postoperative revision difficulty.

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