Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: January 2009 - Volume 467 - Issue 1 - p 225–234 doi: 10.1007/s11999-008-0406-1 Original Article

Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement: Intraoperative and Early Postoperative Complications

Wierks, Carl1; Skolasky, Richard, L.1; Ji, Jong, Hun1; McFarland, Edward, G.1,2,a

Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty is a treatment option for patients with symptomatic glenohumeral arthritis and a deficient rotator cuff. The reported complication rates vary from 0% to 68%. Given this variation, our purposes were to (1) determine the learning curve for the procedure, (2) identify complications and surgical pitfalls, and (3) compare our results with those of similar published series. We retrospectively reviewed 20 consecutive patients (mean age, 73 years; range, 45–88 years) who had reverse total shoulder arthroplasty by one surgeon, tabulating intraoperative and postoperative complications. Minimum followup was 3 months (average, 9 months; range, 3–21 months). The intraoperative complication rate for the first 10 patients was higher than that for the second 10 patients. There were 33 complications in 15 patients: 11 patients collectively had 22 intraoperative complications and eight patients collectively had 11 postoperative complications. At radiographic followup, 11 patients had scapular notching and nine patients had heterotopic ossification. Our complication rate was higher than published rates.


Level of Evidence: Level II, prognostic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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