Treatment of complex three and four-part proximal humeral fractures with hemiarthroplasty in elderly patients has yielded mixed clinical results. Reverse shoulder arthroplasty has emerged as a treatment option for comminuted proximal humeral fractures for these patients. The purpose of the study was to perform a prospective evaluation of patient outcomes comparing hemiarthroplasty and reverse shoulder arthroplasty for the treatment of comminuted proximal humeral fractures in elderly patients.Methods:
Fifty-three consecutive elderly patients (average age, 74.4 years) underwent an arthroplasty for a complex proximal humeral fracture. Indications for arthroplasty were four-part fractures, three-part fractures with severe comminution of the greater tuberosity, and fractures that involved an articular split of the humeral head. Twenty-six patients underwent hemiarthroplasty (the HA group), followed by twenty-seven patients who underwent reverse shoulder arthroplasty (the RSA group). A total of forty-seven patients (twenty-three in the HA group and twenty-four in the RSA group) were available for follow-up at a minimum of two years.Results:
Final average outcome scores were lower in the HA group than in the RSA group (American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons [ASES] score of 62 versus 77 [p = 0.0001] and Simple Shoulder Test [SST] of 5.8 versus 7.4 [p = 0.0062]), and patient-reported satisfaction was lower in the HA group than in the RSA group (61% versus 91%; p = 0.038). Radiographic healing of the tuberosities occurred in 61% of the patients in the HA group compared with 83% of the patients in the RSA group (p = 0.17). Forward elevation of the arm was higher in the RSA group (139°) than in the HA group (100°) (p = 0.0002), but no significant differences were observed for shoulder external rotation or internal rotation. Complication rates in both groups were similar. Three patients (13%) in the HA group elected revision to reverse shoulder arthroplasty because of failed tuberosity healing and resultant shoulder pseudoparesis.Conclusions:
In this series, reverse shoulder arthroplasty resulted in better clinical outcomes and a similar complication rate compared with hemiarthroplasty for the treatment of comminuted proximal humeral fractures in the elderly.Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.