Activity following reverse total shoulder arthroplasty: What should surgeons be advising?

Shoulder Elbow. 2019 Jul;11(2 Suppl):4-15. doi: 10.1177/1758573218793648. Epub 2018 Aug 8.


Background: Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA) is now the most frequently performed form of shoulder arthroplasty. There is currently no consensus on recommended levels of activity and sport following RTSA. The aim of this review is to outline the current evidence and provide a guide for surgeons on what to advise their patients regarding activity level following RTSA.

Methods: A systematic review of the literature was performed using the Preferred Reporting for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The search was performed using the electronic databases PubMed and Medline. Included studies were of level 1 to 4 evidence in the English language evaluating complications and return to sport after RTSA.

Results: Eleven studies were selected and included a total of 621 patients (67% female) with a mean age of 73 years (range 22-92). All of the included patients participated in sports prior to RTSA. The rate of return to sport ranged from 60 to 86% and varied with the level of sport activity. Mean time to return to sport after surgery varied greatly between studies.

Conclusions: Return to sport is tolerated following RTSA; however, studies are short to medium term only and although the reported complication rate is low, the studies did not include radiographic evaluation. Longer term studies with subgroup analysis evaluating common recreational activities after RTSA are required, particularly in the younger population, in order to establish clear post-operative guidelines.

Keywords: activity; recommendations; reverse shoulder arthroplasty; sports participation.

Publication types

  • Review