Surgical learning curve in reverse shoulder arthroplasty for proximal humerus fractures

Leanne S. Blaas, Jian Z. Yuan, Charlotte M. Lameijer, Peter M. van de Ven, Frank W. Bloemers, Robert Jan Derksen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Fracture reverse shoulder arthroplasty (fRSA) in geriatric, complex dislocated proximal humerus fractures is becoming the standard treatment next to conservative treatment. fRSA is a multifaceted, reasonably challenging procedure of which functional outcomes and complication rates are likely to depend on the experience of the surgeon. The goal of this study was to determine whether there is a learning curve for fRSA. Methods: All patients with a dislocated multipart proximal humerus fracture that were treated with an fRSA between 2013 and 2019 in a specialized institution were included. The functional outcomes (Constant Shoulder Score, Oxford Shoulder Score, and range of motion), complications, and operation time of fRSA were assessed with linear regression plots and cumulative summation analysis to establish whether a learning curve was present. Results: In this cohort study, 50 patients were included. They had a mean age of 77.1 years and were treated with an fRSA by one trauma surgeon. Learning curves were distinguished for functional outcomes, complications, and operation time based on learning targets for daily activity and the mean complications and operation time. Results indicated that an optimal treatment is achieved after performing 20 fRSAs. Conclusion: The results show that functional outcomes of PHFs treated with an fRSA improve with surgical experience. Also, outcomes are getting less variable after about 20 procedures. Surgeons starting this procedure should be aware of the learning curve and, therefore, should consider guidance from an experienced surgeon to swiftly optimize functional outcomes and prevent unnecessary complications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1034-1041
JournalJSES international
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

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