The incidence of radiographic aseptic loosening of the humeral component in reverse total shoulder arthroplasty

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2015 Oct;24(10):1555-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2015.02.007. Epub 2015 May 7.


Background: The reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA) has been used in the treatment of complex shoulder problems. The incidence of aseptic loosening of the humeral component has not been previously reported.

Methods: This is a multicenter, retrospective, blinded, case-control radiographic review of 292 patients to determine the rate of humeral stem loosening. There were 177 cemented and 115 press-fit humeral components. Radiographs were critiqued for radiolucent lines adjacent to the humeral stem based on the method described by Gruen et al.

Results: The overall rate of loosening was 0.74%. No radiographic loosening occurred in the press-fit group (115 stems). In the cemented group (177 stems), 2 shoulders (1.18%) were identified with radiographically loose stems. No loosening occurred in the press-fit group. No statistically significant difference was found in humeral stem loosening when the press-fit group and the cemented group were compared (P = .198).

Discussion: Our study indicates the cemented or press-fit RTSA system will result in a low incidence of radiolucent lines and radiographic loosening. Compared with historical survivorship of conventional anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty, RTSA shows a lower rate of radiographic stem loosening at a mean of 38.46 months.

Conclusions: The RTSA has a low incidence of humeral stem loosening at midterm. These results underscore the importance of careful selection of patients to provide the benefits of this surgical technique. Press-fit fixation may provide a lower risk to stem loosening.

Keywords: Reverse shoulder arthroplasty; failed shoulder replacement; humeral fixation; radiographic stem loosening; satisfactory outcome.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement / methods*
  • Bone Cements / therapeutic use*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Humerus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Incidence
  • Joint Prosthesis / adverse effects*
  • Prosthesis Failure*
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shoulder Joint / diagnostic imaging*
  • Shoulder Joint / surgery
  • Single-Blind Method


  • Bone Cements