What is a Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement for Fracture?

Complex shoulder fractures, also known as proximal humerus fractures, have a variety of different treatment options. Read more here about shoulder fractures.

  1. Nonsurgical treatment – proximal humerus fractures that are less severe and not significantly shifted or displaced can be successfully treated without surgery. Surgery is typically recommended for more complex shoulder fractures unless the patient is not medically able to undergo surgery.
  1. Plate and screw fixation – also called an “open reduction and internal fixation,” fixation with a metal plate and screws can sometimes be performed to treat complex, displaced proximal humerus fractures.
  1. Hemiarthroplasty for fracture – sometimes a metal prosthetic replacement or hemiarthroplasty can be used. A “hemiarthroplasty” implies that only the humeral side or ball of the shoulder in replaced. Hemiarthroplasty procedures were commonly performed for very complex shoulder fractures prior to the design of reverse total shoulder replacements. Reverse total shoulder replacement for fracture has nearly replaced hemiarthroplasty for fracture, but it is still used in some cases.
  1. Reverse total shoulder replacement for fracture – reverse total shoulder replacement for fracture has significantly improved the treatment of complex proximal humerus fractures especially in older patients with osteoporotic bone. The prosthetic ball and socket are “reversed” in a reverse total shoulder replacement. The ability to restore overhead motion and obtain fracture healing with a reverse total shoulder replacement has been promising in early follow-up studies.

Read more here about reverse total shoulder replacement.

Citation: Szerlip BW, Morris BJ, Edwards TB. Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty for Trauma: When, Where, and How. Instructional Course Lectures. 2016;65:171-80.

About Dr. Morris:

Dr. Brent J. Morris is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship-trained shoulder and elbow specialist in Lexington, Kentucky at Baptist Health Lexington – Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.  Dr. Morris is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (FAAOS) and an Active Member of American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES).

Dr. Morris and his research team have published extensively on shoulder surgery and ways to improve outcomes and patient satisfaction following surgery.  He is co-author of a textbook devoted to total shoulder, reverse total shoulder replacement surgery, and revision shoulder replacement surgery, Shoulder Arthroplasty, 2ndEdition (https://www.elsevier.com/books/shoulder-arthroplasty/edwards/978-0-323-53164-1). 

Brent J. Morris, MD


Dr. Brent J. Morris