Fracture sequelae (FS) of the proximal humerus is a challenging scenario in shoulder surgery. Despite they have been traditionally treated with hemiarthroplasty (HA), the use of reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) has been recently introduced. However, there are no studies comparing the results of HA and RSA in FS. The purpose of this study was to compare the functional and quality of life-related outcomes, and complications in the treatment of proximal humeral FS between HA and RSA.

A therapeutic prospective non-randomized comparative study was conducted. All consecutive patients with diagnosis of FS after non-operative treatment of proximal humeral fractures and no previous shoulder surgery were considered for this study. A total of 32 patients (24 females, 8 males) with a mean (SD) age at the time of surgery of 80.1 (4.9) years were finally included: 12 in the HA group, and 20 in the RSA group. FS were treated with shoulder arthroplasty by the implantation of either HA or RSA. Constant score (total and specific items), quality of life (assessed through SF-36), and complications requiring revision surgery were compared between groups.

All parameters of the Constant score significantly improved in the postoperative compared to preoperative period when considering the entire sample. The RSA group demonstrated a higher improvement in total Constant score (p = 0.06) and Constant activity level (p = 0.02) compared to the HA group. The HA demonstrated a higher number of complications compared to the RSA (p = 0.05). There were no differences in SF-36 scores between both groups.

The shoulder arthroplasty is an effective treatment for FS with significant improvement in pain and function. The RSA may be a better option than HA for FS given the trend towards better total Constant score and a significantly lower number of complications requiring revision surgery.

Therapeutic level II evidence.

Polls results

On a scale of 1 to 10, rate how much this article will change your clinical practice?

NO change
BIG change
0% Article relates to my practice (0/0)
0% Article does not relate to my practice (0/0)
0% Undecided (0/0)

Will this article lead to more cost-effective healthcare?

0% Yes (0/0)
0% No (0/0)
0% Undecided (0/0)

Was this article biased? (commercial or personal)

0% Yes (0/0)
0% No (0/0)
0% Undecided (0/0)

What level of evidence do you think this article is?

0% Level 1 (0/0)
0% Level 2 (0/0)
0% Level 3 (0/0)
0% Level 4 (0/0)
0% Level 5 (0/0)