J Korean Orthop Assoc.  2019 Apr;54(2):110-119. 10.4055/jkoa.2019.54.2.110.

Shoulder Replacement Arthroplasty after Failed Proximal Humerus Fracture

  • 1Center for Shoulder, Elbow and Sports Medicine, Neon Orthopaedic Clinic, Seoul, Korea. ez2chanz@naver.com
  • 2Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Yangsan, Korea.


Proximal humerus fracture can be defined as a fracture that occurs in the surgical neck or proximal part of the humerus. Despite the appropriate treatment, however, various complications and sequelae can occur, and the treatment is quite difficult often requiring surgical treatment, such as a shoulder replacement. The classification of sequelae after a proximal humerus fracture is most commonly used by Boileau and can be divided into two categories and four types. Category I is an intracapsular impacted fracture that is not accompanied by important distortions between the tuberosities and humeral head. An anatomic prosthesis can be used without greater tuberosity osteotomy. In category I, there are type 1 with cephalic collapse or necrosis with minimal tuberosity malunion and type 2 related to locked dislocation or fracture-dislocation. Category II is an extracapsular dis-impacted fracture with gross distortion between the tuberosities and the humeral head. To perform an anatomic prosthesis, a tuberosity osteotomy should be performed. In category II, there are type 3 with nonunion of the surgical neck and type 4 with severe tuberosity malunion. In type 1, non-constrained arthroplasty (NCA) without a tuberosity osteotomy should be considered as a treatment. On the other hand, reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) should be considered if types 1C or 1D accompanied by valgus or varus deformity or severe fatty degeneration of the rotator cuff. In general, the results are satisfactory when NCA is performed in type 2 sequelae. On the other hand, RSA can be considered as an option when there is no bony defect of the glenoid and a defect of the rotator cuff is accompanied. In type 3, it would be effective to perform internal fixation with a bone wedge graft rather than shoulder replacement arthroplasty. Recent reports on the results of RSA are also increasing. On the other hand, recent reports suggest that good results are obtained with RSA in type 3. In type 4, RSA should be considered as a first option.


proximal humeral fractures; postoperative complications; reverse shoulder arthroplasty
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