Anatomical total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA) has been used widely in treatment of glenohumeral osteoarthritis and provides excellent pain relief and functional results. Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) was created to treat the complex problem of rotator cuff tear arthropathy. RSA also has been performed for glenohumeral osteoarthritis even in cases where the rotator cuff is preserved and has shown good results comparable with TSA. The indications for RSA are expanding to include tumors of the proximal humerus, revision of hemiarthroplasty to RSA, and revision of failed TSA to RSA. The purposes of this article were to describe comprehensively the conditions under which RSA should be considered in glenohumeral osteoarthritis, to explain its theoretical background, and to review the literature.

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