The following article requires a subscription:

(Format: HTML, PDF)

Background: Primary shoulder hemiarthroplasty is used to address a range of glenohumeral disorders, including fracture, arthritis, avascular necrosis, and capsulorrhaphy arthropathy; some patients with hemiarthroplasties undergo revision surgery for persistent pain or residual shoulder dysfunction. The literature does not clarify the features of the hemiarthroplasties having repeat surgery in a way that can guide surgeons' efforts to minimize the need for revision. To help address this gap, we analyzed the characteristics of patients from our region for whom we performed surgical revision of a prior humeral hemiarthroplasty

Questions/Purposes: (1) What are the common characteristics of shoulder hemiarthroplasties having a revision? (2) What are the common characteristics of the subset of revised shoulder hemiarthroplasties that were performed for fracture? (3) What are characteristics of the subset of all revised hemiarthroplasties that were associated with glenoid bone erosion?

Methods: Data for 983 patients for whom we performed a surgical revision of any type of shoulder arthroplasty between January 1991 and January 2017 were identified in our longitudinally maintained institutional arthroplasty revision database. In each case, revision had been elected by shared patient and surgeon decision-making after consideration of the disorder, degree of compromised comfort and function, treatment alternatives, and the risks of surgery. Of these 983 patients, 359 (37%) had a revision of a prior primary hemiarthroplasty; these patients were the subjects of this investigation. In this group of patients, we investigated the patient demographics, shoulder characteristics, prerevision radiographic findings, and findings at revision surgery. No patients were excluded. The patients having revision of primary hemiarthroplasties had severe loss of self-assessed shoulder comfort and function, with Simple Shoulder Test (SST) scores averaging 2.2 /- 2.2 of the maximum score of 12. The majority of these patients (81%) were women. The medical records of these 359 patients were abstracted to determine the diagnosis for the index primary hemiarthroplasty, clinical characteristics before surgery, and findings at surgical revision. One hundred twelve of the arthroplasties had been performed for fracture-related diagnoses; a subgroup analysis was performed on these patients. Two hundred seventy-three of the 359 patients (76%) had plain radiographs performed within 3 months before revision surgery that were adequate for assessing the radiographic characteristics of the glenoid, humerus, humeral component, and glenohumeral relationships; a subgroup analysis was performed on these patients. The degree of glenoid erosion was measured by a single observer in accordance with established criteria: Grade 1 is no erosion, Grade 2 is erosion limited to subchondral bone, Grade 3 is moderate erosion with medialization, and Grade 4 is medialization beyond the coracoid base. Some patients were included in both of these subgroups.

Results: Common characteristics of the revised hemiarthroplasties included female sex (81%), rotator cuff (89 of 359; 25%) or subscapularis (81 of 359; 23%) failure, problems related to prior fracture (154 of 359; 43%), glenoid erosion 125 of 359; 35%), and component malposition (89 of 359; 25%). Hemiarthroplasties performed for fracture-related problems often were associated with tuberosity malunion or nonunion (58 of 79; 73%) and decentering of the humeral component on the glenoid surface (45 of 71; 63%). Major erosion of the bony glenoid (Grade 3 or 4) was more common in decentered hemiarthroplasties (42 of 102; 41%) than for centered hemiarthroplasties (36 of 146; 25%) (Fisher's exact p = 0.008) and more common for hemiarthroplasties positioned in valgus (28 of 50; 56%) than for those positioned in neutral or varus (40 of 188; 21%) (Fishers' exact p < 0.0001).

Conclusions: These findings suggest that some revisions of primary hemiarthroplasties may be avoided by surgical techniques directed at centering the prosthetic humeral articular surface on the glenoid concavity using proper humeral component positioning and soft tissue balance, by avoiding valgus positioning of the humeral component, and by managing glenoid disorders with a primary glenohumeral arthroplasty rather than a hemiarthroplasty alone. When durable security of the subscapularis, rotator cuff, and tuberosities is in question, the surgeon may consider a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty.

Level of Evidence: Level III, therapeutic study

(C) 2018 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins LWW