Does the Second-generation Intercalary Humeral Spacer Improve on the First?

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Abstract

Since publication of the results of a first-generation intercalary humeral spacer, a newer design has been available that addressed the weaknesses of the first. This study evaluated the hypothesis that the second-generation lap joint junction intercalary humeral spacer reduced complications compared with the original male-female taper design. We retrospectively reviewed the charts of 32 consecutive patients who had undergone placement of an intercalary humeral spacer. Twenty-one with the male-female taper (minimum followup 0 months, mean 19.2 months) were compared with 11 with the lap joint configuration (minimum followup 0 months, mean 20.3 months). Demographic, tumor, treatment, and radiographic variables were similar between groups. We observed a lower complication rate in the lap joint group (three of 11 versus 11 of 21). The most common complications in the male-female group, neuropraxia, periprosthetic fracture, and disengagement, were not seen in the lap joint group. Aseptic loosening was more frequent in the lap joint group. There were no differences in blood loss, operative time, or Musculoskeletal Tumor Society scores between groups. We noted improvement in Musculoskeletal Tumor Society scores from preoperatively to postoperatively in both groups. Use of these implants should be reserved for patients with limited life expectancy.

Level of Evidence: Level IV, therapeutic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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