Acromial fractures following reverse shoulder arthroplasty: the role of the acromial morphology and a comparison of clinical outcomes

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2022 Jun;31(6S):S34-S43. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2022.01.132. Epub 2022 Feb 18.


Background: The purpose was to evaluate the relationship between acromial morphology and the location of acromial fractures following reverse shoulder arthroplasty and determine whether fracture location and displacement impact clinical outcomes.

Methods: We performed a multicenter retrospective review of reverse shoulder arthroplasties complicated by acromial fractures. Radiographs were compared to determine the differences in acromial morphology, as well as fracture orientation and pattern, between patients with Levy type I (n = 17) and Levy type II (n = 25) fractures. Patients with a minimum of 2 years' follow-up were selected to examine the association between clinical outcomes and fracture location and displacement. Twenty-two patients were stratified based on whether they achieved the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score (20 points). The groups were then compared regarding fracture location and displacement using measurements such as the acromiohumeral distance.

Results: The Levy type I group had a higher acromial slope than the Levy type II group (127° vs. 117°, P < .001). Levy type I fractures had a transverse pattern occurring in the coronal plane, whereas Levy type II fractures had an oblique pattern occurring in the sagittal plane (P < .001). At final follow-up, 12 of 22 patients (55%) achieved the MCID. Those who did not achieve the MCID had more displaced fractures including a lower acromiohumeral distance (8 mm vs. 20 mm, P = .007). There was no difference in the distribution of Levy type I and type II fractures based on the MCID cutoff (P = .093).

Conclusion: An increased acromial slope is associated with transverse fractures in the Levy I region, whereas a lower acromial slope is associated with oblique fractures in the Levy II region. Overall, 55% of patients achieved the MCID at mid-term follow-up. The outcomes of those who did not achieve the MCID became worse postoperatively, and this was associated with increased fracture displacement.

Keywords: MCID; Reverse shoulder arthroplasty; acromial slope; acromion; displacement; fracture; outcomes.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Acromion / diagnostic imaging
  • Acromion / surgery
  • Arthroplasty / adverse effects
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Shoulder* / adverse effects
  • Fractures, Bone* / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Bone* / etiology
  • Fractures, Bone* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shoulder Joint* / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome