Acromial and Scapular Fractures After Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty with a Medialized Glenoid and Lateralized Humeral Implant: An Analysis of Outcomes and Risk Factors

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2020 Oct 7;102(19):1724-1733. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.19.00724.


This article was updated on TK because of a previous error, which was discovered after the preliminary version of the article was posted online. In Table VII, the fracture rate in the study by Walch et al. that had read "4.6% (21 of 457)" now reads "0.9% (4 of 457)."

Background: Acromial and scapular fractures after reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (rTSA) are rare and challenging complications, and little information is available in the literature to identify patients who are at risk. This study analyzes risk factors for, and compares the outcomes of patients with and without, acromial and scapular fractures after rTSA with a medialized glenoid/lateralized humeral implant.

Methods: Four thousand one hundred and twenty-five shoulders in 3,995 patients were treated with primary rTSA with 1 design of reverse shoulder prosthesis by 23 orthopaedic surgeons. Sixty-one of the 4,125 shoulders had radiographically identified acromial and scapular fractures. Demographic characteristics, comorbidities, implant-related data, and clinical outcomes were compared between patients with and without fractures to identify risk factors. A multivariate logistic regression, 2-tailed unpaired t test, and chi-square test or Fisher exact test identified significant differences (p < 0.05).

Results: After a minimum duration of follow-up of 2 years, the rate of acromial and scapular fractures was 1.77%, with the fractures occurring at a mean (and standard deviation) of 17.7 ± 21.1 months after surgery. Ten patients had a Levy Type-1 fracture, 32 had a Type-2 fracture, 18 had a Type-3 fracture, and 1 fracture could not be classified. Patients with acromial and scapular fractures were more likely to be female (84.0% versus 64.5% [p = 0.004]; odds ratio [OR] = 2.75 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.45 to 5.78]), to have rheumatoid arthritis (9.8% versus 3.3% [p = 0.010]; OR = 3.14 [95% CI = 1.18 to 6.95]), to have rotator cuff tear arthropathy (54.1% versus 37.8% [p = 0.005]; OR = 2.07 [95% CI = 1.24 to 3.47]), and to have more baseplate screws (4.1 versus 3.8 screws [p = 0.017]; OR = 1.53 [95% CI = 1.08 to 2.17]) than those without fractures. No other implant-related differences were observed in the multivariate analysis. Patients with fractures had significantly worse outcomes than patients without fractures, and the difference in mean improvement between these 2 cohorts exceeded the minimum clinically important difference for the majority of measures.

Conclusions: Acromial and scapular fractures after rTSA are uncommon, and patients with these fractures have significantly worse clinical outcomes. Risk factors, including female sex, rheumatoid arthritis, cuff tear arthropathy, and usage of more baseplate screws were identified on multivariate logistic regression analysis. Consideration of these findings and patient-specific risk factors may help the orthopaedic surgeon (1) to better inform patients about this rare complication preoperatively and (2) to be more vigilant for this complication when evaluating patients postoperatively.

Level of evidence: Prognostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

MeSH terms

  • Acromion / diagnostic imaging
  • Acromion / injuries*
  • Aged
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Shoulder / adverse effects*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Shoulder / methods
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Scapula / diagnostic imaging
  • Scapula / injuries*
  • Shoulder Prosthesis