Complications after anatomic (aTSA) and reverse (rTSA) total shoulder arthroplasty can be devastating to a patient's quality of life and require revisions that are costly to both the patient and the health care system. The purpose of this study is to determine the types, incidence, and timing of complications following aTSA and rTSA using an international database of patients who received a single-platform total shoulder arthroplasty system, in order to quantify the types of failure modes and the differences that occur between aTSA and rTSA.

A total of 2224 aTSA (male-female, 1090:1134) and 4158 rTSA (male-female, 1478:2680) patients were enrolled in an international database of primary shoulder arthroplasty performed by 40 different surgeons in the United States and Europe. Adverse events and revisions reported for these 6382 patients were analyzed to identify the most common failure modes associated for both aTSA and rTSA.

For the 2224 aTSA patients, 239 adverse events were reported for a complication rate of 10.7% and 124 revisions for a revision rate of 5.6%. The top 3 complications for aTSA were rotator cuff tear/subscapularis failure (n = 69; complication rate = 3.1%, revision rate = 1.9%), aseptic glenoid loosening (n = 55; complication rate = 2.5%, revision rate = 1.9%), and infection (n = 28; complication rate = 1.3%, revision rate = 0.8%). For the 4158 rTSA patients, 372 adverse events were reported for a complication rate of 8.9% and 104 revisions for a revision rate of 2.5%. The top 3 complications for rTSA were acromial/scapular fracture/pain (n = 102; complication rate = 2.5%, revision rate = 0.0%), instability (n = 60; complication rate = 1.4%, revision rate = 1.0%), and pain (n = 49; complication rate = 1.2%, revision rate = 0.2%).

This large database analysis quantified complication and revision rates for aTSA and rTSA. We found aTSA and rTSA complication rates of 10.7% and 8.9%, respectively; with revision surgery rates of 5.6% and 2.5%, respectively. The 2 most common complications for each prosthesis type (aTSA: subscapularis/rotator cuff tears, aseptic glenoid loosening; rTSA: acromial/scapular fractures, instability) were unique to each device. The rate of infection was similar for both. Future prosthesis and technique development should work to mitigate these common complication types in order to reduce their rate of occurrence.