A 10-year experience with reverse shoulder arthroplasty: are we operating earlier?

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2020 Jul;29(7S):S126-S133. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2020.04.040.


Introduction: As surgeons' confidence in reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) increases, they may tend to offer RSA earlier in the course of glenohumeral joint disease. This study evaluates the changes in the "tipping point" for primary RSA over a 10-year period to evaluate changes in practice.

Methods: A total of 3975 primary RSAs performed over a 10-year period were retrospectively reviewed from a multi-institutional database. Of these, 3536 primary RSAs with preoperative diagnoses of osteoarthritis with rotator cuff deficiency (1626), irreparable rotator cuff tear (396), and rotator cuff tear arthropathy (1514) were included in the analysis. Preoperative range of motion (ROM) and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) were used to calculate tipping points for each subgroup on a yearly basis over a 10-year period, and assessed for changes over time.

Results: PROMs (American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Standardized Shoulder Assessment Form, Simple Shoulder Test) and the Constant score remained similar over the 10-year study period, with all demonstrating slightly higher tipping points later in the study. ROM measures (forward elevation, abduction, and external rotation) all showed small increases over time, demonstrating better ROM before electing to undergo RSA in later years.

Conclusions: With the increasing use of RSA over the last decade, the ROM tipping point for patients electing to undergo surgery has increased, whereas the PROM tipping point has remained stable. This indicates that patients undergoing RSA in the present have greater ROM preoperatively compared with 10 years ago; however, their perceived disability remains similar. Surgeons and patients continue to pursue RSA at a similar preoperative morbidity over the last 10 years.

Keywords: RSA; Tipping point; decision; indications; reverse shoulder; surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Shoulder*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis / surgery
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Postoperative Period
  • Preoperative Period
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rotation
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries / surgery
  • Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy / physiopathology*
  • Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy / surgery
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology
  • Shoulder Joint / surgery
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome