Comparison of Hemiarthroplasty and Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty for the Treatment of Proximal Humeral Fractures in Elderly Patients
Derek J. Cuff, MD; Derek R. Pupello, MBA

Abstract

Background: 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.

Footnotes

  • Investigation performed at Suncoast Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, Venice, and the Foundation for Orthopaedic Research and Education, Tampa, Florida

  • Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. One or more of the authors, or his or her institution, has had a financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with an entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. No author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.


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