Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty for the Management of Proximal Humerus Fractures

Charles M. Jobin J Am Acad Orthop Surg. March 2015. vol. 23 no. 3

The use of reverse shoulder arthroplasty is becoming increasingly popular for the treatment of complex three- and four-part proximal humerus fractures in the elderly compared with the often unpredictable and poor outcomes provided by open reduction and internal fixation and by hemiarthroplasty. Inferior results with plate osteosynthesis are often a result of complications of humeral head osteonecrosis, loss of fixation, and screw penetration through the humeral head, whereas major concerns with hemiarthroplasty are tuberosity resorption, malunion, and nonunion resulting in pseudoparalysis. Comparative studies support the use of reverse shoulder arthroplasty in elderly patients with complex proximal humerus fractures because the functional outcomes and relief of pain are reliably improved. Repair and union of the greater tuberosity fragment during reverse shoulder arthroplasty demonstrates improved external rotation, clinical outcomes, and patient satisfaction compared with outcomes after tuberosity resection, nonunion, or resorption. Satisfactory results can be obtained with careful preoperative planning and attention to technical details.

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