Background: Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA) has been indicated primarily for patients aged older than 65 years with symptomatic rotator cuff deficiency, poor function, and pain. However, conditions that benefit from RTSA are not restricted to an elderly population. This study evaluates a consecutive series of RTSA patients aged younger than 60 years.
Methods: We evaluated 36 shoulders (mean age, 54 years) at a mean follow-up of 2.8 years (range, 24-48 months). Of these shoulders, 30 (83%) had previous surgery, averaging 2.5 procedures per patient. The preoperative conditions compelling RTSA were as follows: failed rotator cuff repair (12), fracture sequelae (11), failed arthroplasty (5), instability sequelae (4), cuff tear arthropathy (CTA) (4), and rheumatoid arthritis (2). Follow-up examinations included range-of-motion and strength testing, as well as Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation, visual analog scale, Simple Shoulder Test, American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES), and Constant scores. Preoperative and postoperative radiographs were reviewed for component loosening and scapular notching. Failure criteria were defined as undergoing revision, having gross loosening, or having an ASES score below 50.
Results: The mean Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation score improved from 24.4 to 72.0; the visual analog scale pain score improved from 6 to 2.1. The Simple Shoulder Test score improved from 1.4 to 6.2, and the ASES score improved from 31.4 to 65.8. Active forward elevation improved from 56° to 121°. The normalized postoperative mean Constant score was 54.3. In 9 patients (25.0%), we recorded an ASES score below 50, and these cases were considered failures.
Conclusion: RTSA can improve shoulder function in a younger, complex patient population with poor preoperative functional ability. This study's success rate was 75% at 2.8 years. This is a limited-goals procedure, and longer-term studies are required to determine whether similar results are maintained over time.
Keywords: 2-year follow-up; RTSA; Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty; outcomes; shoulder; under 60 years.
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