Shoulder surgery for complex conditions such as irreparably large rotator cuff tears has been revolutionized by the concept of reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (rTSA). Improved design of rTSA implants by multiple manufacturers has resulted in excellent functional outcomes from these procedures. I have been educated by my shoulder colleagues to the fact that primary rTSA is actually technically less demanding than primary anatomic TSA because of greater exposure of the scapula/ glenoid anatomy.
When anatomic TSA clinically and/or radiographically fails, conversion to rTSA is an alternate to revision anatomic TSA. However, the more expensive and complex rTSA system can be difficult to implant in the revision scenario. In the May 3, 2017 issue of The Journal, Crosby et al. provide the outcomes of conversion from primary anatomic TSA to revision rTSA among two groups: those who originally received a convertible-platform implant system, allowing the humeral stem to be retained during revision, and those whose revision required humeral stem exchange.
Patients with retained-stem revisions had significantly shorter operative times, lower estimated blood loss, lower intraoperative complication rates, and slightly better postoperative ROM. Although the authors caution that “the presence of a convertible-platform humeral component does not guarantee that it can be retained,” they conclude that the data from this study “support the use of a convertible-platform humeral stem when performing primary shoulder arthroplasty.”
Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to design implants where the portions that remain well-fixed can be retained and re-used for the rare revision situation. Such retained, modular parts can save resources, reduce operative time and patient morbidity, and may improve functional outcomes. However, we must be aware that issues with wear debris that have surfaced in modular hip components may also come into play with modular shoulder components.
Marc Swiontkowski, MD
In the April 19, 2017 issue of The Journal, Cancienne et al. compare complication and readmission rates for patients undergoing ambulatory shoulder arthroplasty with those among patients admitted as hospital inpatients postoperatively. Because the analysis was based on data from a large national insurer, we can be quite sure of appropriate coding and accurate data capture.
Similar to our recent report regarding outpatient hand and elbow surgery, in no instance were complications present at a significantly higher rate in the patients who underwent ambulatory shoulder arthroplasty, and the rate of hospital readmission after discharge was not significantly different at 30 or 90 days between the two cohorts.
This definitely is a tip of the hat to orthopaedic surgeons, nurses, and anesthesiologists, who are making sound decisions regarding which patients are appropriate for outpatient arthroplasty. Cancienne et al. found that obesity and morbid obesity were significant demographic risk factors for readmission among the ambulatory cohort, and they also identified the following comorbidities as readmission risk factors in that group:
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Chronic lung disease
- Chronic anemia
These results offer further documentation regarding the shift away from hospital-based care after orthopaedic surgery. Those of us who perform surgery in dedicated orthopaedic centers as well as general hospital operating rooms understand the concepts of efficiency, focus, maintenance of team skills, and limiting waste. Those objectives in large part drive the move to outpatient surgery. But patients, who almost always prefer to be at home and sleep in their own beds (or recliners in the case of shoulder replacement), may be an even more powerful driver of ambulatory care in the future.
Major advances in postoperative pain management are great enablers in this regard, and I believe the trend will continue. I envision a day when the only patients admitted to hospitals after orthopaedic surgery are those with unstable medical issues who potentially may need ICU care postoperatively.
Marc Swiontkowski, MD
Anecdotally, many patients experience extreme discomfort after shoulder surgery. The April 5, 2017 issue of JBJS features results from a randomized controlled trial comparing morphine consumption and pain during the 24 hours following shoulder arthroplasty among two groups. One group (n=78) received a preoperative interscalene brachial plexus blockade, while the other (n=78) received intraoperative infiltration of bupivacaine liposome suspension.
Mean total postoperative narcotic consumption during the 24 hours after surgery was not significantly different between the two groups, although intraoperative narcotic consumption was significantly lower in the blockade group. The mean VAS pain scores were significantly lower in the blockade group at 0 and 8 hours postoperatively, the same as in the infiltration group at 16 hours postoperatively, and significantly higher than those in the infiltration group at 24 hours postoperatively. That last finding in patients undergoing blockade represents the phenomenon known as “rebound pain.”
The authors, Namdari et al., conclude that the “optimal postoperative pain regimen for shoulder arthroplasty…require[s] further investigation.” But their analysis uncovered four demographic factors that were associated with higher pain scores at 24 hours after surgery, regardless of the analgesic technique used:
- Younger age
- History of depression
- Higher Charlson Comorbidity Score
- Higher preoperative VAS score
In his commentary on the study, Ranjan Gupta, MD notes that one downside of the block approach is “an inability to assess the patient’s neurologic function after the surgical procedure.” His own early clinical experience leads him to favor the admittedly “laborious” infiltration approach, partly because “both patients and orthopaedic nurses who take care of these patients in the immediate postoperative time period can readily appreciate the lack of rebound pain.”
Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA) has yielded promising medium-term outcomes, but what about longer-term results? In the March 15, 2017 edition of The Journal, Bacle et al. look at patient outcomes, prosthetic survival, and complications after a mean follow up of 12.5 years.
The good-news finding from this study was that the overall prosthetic survival rate (using revision as the end point) was 93%, confirming the reliability of the Grammont-style prosthesis. Time, however, took its toll on other outcomes. For example, both mean and absolute Constant scores among the cohort decreased significantly compared with the scores at the medium-term follow up (a minimum of 2 years). The cumulative long-term complication rate was 29%, with 10 of the 47 complications occurring at a mean of 8.3 years. Seven of those 10 delayed complications were attributed to mechanical loosening.
The authors suggest that the deterioration of RTSA outcomes seen in this study “is probably related to patient aging coupled with bone erosion and/or deltoid impairment over time.” They conclude that long-term RTSA outcomes “may be impacted by both the etiology of the shoulder dysfunction and the time since implantation.”
For more peer-reviewed content related to RTSA from JBJS Essential Surgical Techniques, click on the following links:
- Patient-Matched Implementation for Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty
- Glenoid Bone-Grafting in Revision to a Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty: Surgical Technique
- Technique for Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty for Primary Glenohumeral Osteoarthritis with a Biconcave Glenoid
OrthoBuzz regularly brings you a current commentary on a “classic” article from The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. These articles have been selected by the Editor-in-Chief and Deputy Editors of The Journal because of their long-standing significance to the orthopaedic community and the many citations they receive in the literature. Our OrthoBuzz commentators highlight the impact that these JBJS articles have had on the practice of orthopaedics. Please feel free to join the conversation by clicking on the “Leave a Comment” button in the box to the left.
Charles Neer II , a true pioneer in shoulder surgery, coined the term “cuff-tear arthropathy” in 1977. In a landmark 1983 JBJS publication, Dr. Neer, with coauthors Craig and Fukuda (both of whom became internationally recognized experts in shoulder surgery), reported on the pathophysiology and treatment of this previously little-recognized condition that was associated with long-standing massive rotator cuff tears.
Neer’s early work with total shoulder arthroplasty, also reported in JBJS, included a small cohort of patients with cuff-tear arthropathy. In the 1983 article on cuff-tear arthropathy, Neer and his coauthors described the pathologic presentation and treatment with total shoulder arthroplasty, along with a proposed pathophysiologic mechanism. They noted that, although it was a difficult procedure, their preferred treatment was “total shoulder replacement with rotator cuff reconstruction and special rehabilitation.”
Between 1975 and 1983, they surgically treated only 26 patients. Others later recognized that total shoulder replacement was associated with early glenoid failure and recommended treatment with humeral hemiarthroplasty.1 With either approach, success was limited by rotator cuff deficiency and dysfunction. The results were variable, with a small proportion having good outcomes and others achieving some pain relief and limited functional improvement.
Although it was not the first attempt at a reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA), Grammont developed an innovative design with improved implant technology and biomechanics to treat massive rotator cuff tears.2 This solved the biomechanical problem that resulted from a deficient rotator cuff and forever revolutionized the care of cuff-deficient shoulders. The Delta 3 prosthesis became available in Europe in the early 1990s but was not widely available in the US until 2004, when it was approved by the FDA.
Initially developed, approved, and used exclusively for cuff-tear arthropathy, early clinical success led to utilization for other conditions with deficient or dysfunctional rotator cuffs, including pseudoparalysis, revision shoulder arthroplasty, acute proximal humerus fractures, fracture sequelae, and chronic glenohumeral dislocations. The results have been so good that the indications have expanded beyond the initial recommendations for use only in elderly low-demand patients. Initial concerns were mollified by the apparent longevity and reported survivorship. Subsequently, there has been such a huge increase in utilization that RSA is approaching 50 percent of the US market share and some of the international market. The implications of expanded indications and increased utilization are yet to be seen.
In 1983, Neer and coauthors reported on what was then a relatively uncommon degenerative condition of the shoulder. Today, rotator cuff-deficient shoulders are much more common and can be better treated due to advances in our understanding of the pathophysiology and biomechanics of the condition, as well as advances in shoulder arthroplasty technology.
Andrew Green, MD
JBJS Deputy Editor
1. Franklin JL, Barrett WP, Jackins SE, Matsen FA 3rd. Glenoid loosening in total shoulder
arthroplasty. Association with rotator cuff deficiency. J Arthroplasty. 1988;3(1):39-46.
2. Grammont PM, Baulot E. Delta shoulder prosthesis for rotator cuff rupture. Orthopedics. 1993 Jan;16(1):65-8
Every month, JBJS publishes a Specialty Update—a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 13 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of all OrthoBuzz Specialty Update summaries.
This month, Aaron Chamberlain, MD, MSc, a co-author of the October 19, 2016 Specialty Update on Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, selected the five most clinically compelling findings from among the more than 40 studies summarized in the Specialty Update.
Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty
Optimizing reverse shoulder arthroplasty implant design continues to be a research focus. There is significant variation among different implants with regard to the amount of lateralization of the center of rotation, and how lateralization affects clinical outcomes is of particular interest. Authors randomized patients to undergo reverse shoulder arthroplasty with a center of rotation at the native glenoid face or with lateralization.1 Postoperative functional results at a mean follow-up of 22 months were similar between groups overall. However, when the analysis excluded patients with teres minor muscle degeneration, patients with a more lateralized center of rotation had a greater improvement in external rotation. This may portend a benefit of lateralization in the setting of an intact posterior rotator cuff.
Rotator Cuff Tear Natural History
A Level-I prospective cohort study of patients with asymptomatic rotator cuff tears evaluated patterns of tear progression over time.2 Of specific interest was whether the integrity of the anterior supraspinatus cable influenced tear size and/or risk for tear enlargement. Cable-disrupted tears were 9 mm larger at baseline, but cable integrity did not influence risk for tear enlargement or time to enlargement. This understanding may help inform patient discussions about the risks of nonoperative management of rotator cuff tears.
Rotator Cuff Repair
Do patients with symptomatic degenerative rotator cuff tears fare better with surgery or nonoperative management? Only three prospective randomized trials have been published comparing outcomes after randomizing patients to nonoperative management or surgical repair. This Level-I trial randomized patients (mean age of 61) with degenerative full thickness cuff tears to either a course of non-operative management (corticosteroid injection, physical therapy, and oral analgesics) or surgical rotator cuff repair. 3 Patients who underwent surgery experienced a greater reduction in VAS pain and VAS disability scores compared with the nonoperative cohort at 1 year of follow-up.
In another prospective randomized study, authors randomized patients who were ≥55 years of age with painful degenerative supraspinatus tears into one of three treatments: 1) physical therapy alone, 2) acromioplasty and physical therapy, and 3) rotator cuff repair, acromioplasty, and physical therapy. Patients in this study were older than those in the study mentioned above, with a mean age of 65 (range 55 to 81). At the 2-year follow-up, no significant differences among the three interventions were seen in the Constant score, VAS pain score, or patient satisfaction. This data supports initial conservative treatment in older patients with degenerative atraumatic cuff tears. However, the importance of tear progression over time and the age threshold that separates “older” patients from “younger” patients remain to be determined.
Can we improve the biologic healing environment for rotator cuff repair healing? A Level-I prospective randomized controlled study evaluated leukocyte and platelet-rich fibrin in rotator cuff repairs.4 Patients underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff repair with and without leukocyte and platelet-rich fibrin applied to the repair site. No beneficial effect of leukocyte and platelet-rich fibrin was found in overall clinical outcome, healing rate, postoperative defect size, and tendon quality at the 1-year follow-up. A reliable biological augmentation solution for rotator cuff healing remains elusive.
1 Greiner S, Schmidt C, Herrmann S, Pauly S, Perka C. Clinical performance of lateralized versus non-lateralized reverse shoulder arthroplasty: a prospective randomized study. J. Shoulder Elbow Surg. [Internet]. 2015;24(9):1397–404. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1058274615002864doi:10.1016/j.jse.2015.05.041
2 Keener JD, Hsu JE, Steger-May K, Teefey SA, Chamberlain AM, Yamaguchi K. Patterns of tear progression for asymptomatic degenerative rotator cuff tears. J. Shoulder Elbow Surg. [Internet]. 2015 Dec 1;24(12):1845–1851. Available from: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1058274615004759
3 Lambers Heerspink FO, van Raay JJAM, Koorevaar RCT, van Eerden PJM, Westerbeek RE, van ’t Riet E, et al. Comparing surgical repair with conservative treatment for degenerative rotator cuff tears: a randomized controlled trial. J. Shoulder Elbow Surg. [Internet]. 2015;24(8):1274–81. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1058274615002852doi:10.1016/j.jse.2015.05.040
4 Zumstein MA, Rumian A, Thélu CÉ, Lesbats V, O’Shea K, Schaer M, et al. SECEC Research Grant 2008 II: Use of platelet- and leucocyte-rich fibrin (L-PRF) does not affect late rotator cuff tendon healing: a prospective randomized controlled study. J. Shoulder Elbow Surg. [Internet]. 2016 Jan 1;25(1):2–11. Available from: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1058274615005388
The number of total shoulder arthroplasties performed in the United States has increased substantially in the past decade. In fact, since 2006, more total shoulder arthroplasties have been performed than hemiarthroplasties. Because of this surge in the number of total shoulder arthroplasties being performed, various techniques have been developed to address glenoid bone loss in patients with arthritic shoulder conditions. Indeed, primary glenoid bone loss usually occurs in association with osteoarthritis and is characterized by posterior wear patterns, whereas secondary glenoid bone loss usually occurs in association with trauma, glenoid loosening, and iatrogenic injury during revision surgery.
In the July 2015 issue of JBJS Reviews, Gowda et al. review a number of important issues related to this condition, including normal glenoid anatomy, pathological changes in glenoid substance, primary glenoid bone loss, proper imaging studies for the evaluation of the glenoid, principles of glenoid restoration, and the effects of poor implant position. Other topics, such as glenoid bone-grafting, the use of augmented components, glenoid insert design, patient-specific instrumentation, and the emergence of reverse total shoulder arthroplasty as an important component of the armamentarium of the shoulder arthroplasty surgeon, are also addressed.
The authors assert that proper preoperative imaging is critical in order to ascertain glenoid characteristics, including size, version, and depth of the vault. The treatment of glenoid bone loss is dependent on the degree of version correction that is required and consists of eccentric reaming, bone or polyethylene augmentation, and, as noted above, the potential use of reverse shoulder arthroplasty.
In the future, shoulder arthroplasty research should evaluate the long-term outcomes of biomaterial-augmented glenoid components, the use of other materials (such as ceramics), the utility of fixation within the glenoid and endosteal vault, and the use of reverse-polarity implants.
Thomas A. Einhorn, MD
Editor, JBJS Reviews