Stemless reverse total shoulder arthroplasty: a systematic review of contemporary literature

Musculoskelet Surg. 2021 Dec;105(3):209-224. doi: 10.1007/s12306-021-00710-1. Epub 2021 May 18.


Purpose: Reverse shoulder prostheses are increasingly used for treatment of rotator cuff tear arthropathy and other degenerative shoulder diseases. In recent years, aiming for bone stock preservation has led to the design of metaphyseal humeral components without a stem. The aims of this study were to evaluate the complication and reintervention rates, as well as the clinical and radiographic outcomes in patients who underwent reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) with stemless implants.

Methods: A systematic review of the literature was completed until May 2020 using PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL and Cochrane databases, according to PRISMA guidelines.

Results: The literature search revealed 2942 studies, of which 13 were included in this review, with a total of 517 patients and a mean follow-up between 6.4 and 101.6 months. The total complication rate was 6.5%, while 3.3% were humeral associated complications. Finally, the rate of shoulders that underwent a reintervention was 6.7%, with 1.4% relating to a humeral component reason. Stemless RSA led to substantial improvements in patient reported outcome measures and range of motion across all studies. Scapular notching was reported in 15.2%, and lucencies around humeral component were reported in 0.8% of shoulders.

Conclusion: Stemless RSA resulted in low complication and reintervention rates at the mid-term follow-up. The reported clinical and radiological outcomes showed that these prostheses have at least equivalent outcomes with their stemmed counterparts. Further studies are required to investigate the long-term longevity and performance of the stemless humeral implants.

Level of evidence: Level IV; Systematic Review.

Keywords: Complication; Patient-reported outcome measures; Radiologic evaluation; Reverse shoulder arthroplasty; Revision; Shoulder; Stemless; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Shoulder*
  • Humans
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy*
  • Shoulder Joint* / diagnostic imaging
  • Shoulder Joint* / surgery
  • Shoulder Prosthesis*
  • Treatment Outcome