If a modular convertible total shoulder system is used as a primary implant for an anatomical total shoulder arthroplasty, failure of the prosthesis or the rotator cuff can be addressed by converting it to a reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA), with retention of the humeral stem and glenoid baseplate. This has the potential to reduce morbidity and improve the results.
In a retrospective study of 14 patients (15 shoulders) with a mean age of 70 years (47 to 83) we reviewed the clinical and radiological outcome of converting an anatomical shoulder arthroplasty (ASA) to a RSA using a convertible prosthetic system (SMR system, Lima, San Daniele, Italy).
The mean operating time was 64 minutes (45 to 75). All humeral stems and glenoid baseplates were found to be well-fixed and could be retained. There were no intra-operative or early post-operative complications and no post-operative infection.
The mean follow-up was 43 months (21 to 83), by which time the mean visual analogue scale for pain had decreased from 8 pre-operatively to 1, the mean American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Score from 12 to 76, the mean Oxford shoulder score from 3 to 39, the mean Western Ontario Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder Score from 1618 to 418 and the mean Subjective shoulder value from 15 to 61.
On radiological review, one patient had a lucency around the humeral stem, two had stress shielding. There were no fatigue fractures of the acromion but four cases of grade 1 scapular notching.
The use of a convertible prosthetic system to revise a failed ASA reduces morbidity and minimises the rate of complications. The mid-term clinical and radiological results of this technique are promising.