Opioid-Free Shoulder Arthroplasty: Are We There Yet?

Thomas Obermeyer, MD

Read complete study: Opioid-free shoulder arthroplasty: a prospective
study of a novel clinical care pathway

As the evolution of shoulder arthroplasty permits progressively shorter lengths of hospital stay and performance of these procedures in the ambulatory setting, pain management continues to receive increased attention from patients and physicians. Pain management is critical for timing of discharge, patient participation in early physical therapy, and is highly correlated with patient satisfaction. For some time, opioids have been a cornerstone of pain management, despite the opioid problem in the United States having achieved “epidemic” proportions with use, misuse and diversion. As a result, there is increased awareness of the benefits of limiting opioid exposure in the perioperative period surrounding elective orthopedic surgery. The authors of the study, “Opioid-Free Total Shoulder Arthroplasty” by Van Doren et al, reported on a series of properly selected patients undergoing total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA) who had satisfactory pain management using a multimodal pain approach without opioids. The study was an important demonstration that all providers performing shoulder replacement can make even minor modifications to pain protocols to move closer to eliminating the requirement for opioids, making these procedures increasingly safer for patients.

The study was an important demonstration that all providers performing shoulder replacement can make even minor modifications to pain protocols to move closer to eliminating the requirement for opioids…

The study was a prospective nonrandomized look at 65 patients with a mean age of 71 years undergoing a mix of primary and reverse arthroplasty; one group received opioid medications and the other group did not. Important exclusions were history of prior surgery, renal or liver disease (contraindicating NSAIDs), fractures, and inability to undergo regional anesthesia in the form of an interscalene nerve block. The observation group received interscalene block, intraoperative fentanyl and routine postoperative opioid medications with over the counter NSAIDs when recommended as needed. The intervention group received interscalene block, preoperative gabapentin and celecoxib, intraoperative acetaminophen, periarticular injection of liposomal bupivacaine, in-hospital use of ketorolac (Toradol), and post-discharge oral gabapentin and celecoxib prescriptions with oral acetaminophen as needed.

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The Effect of Glenoid Component Lucency on Outcomes

Kaveh Sajadi, MD

Read complete study: Glenoid component lucencies are associated with poorer patient-reported outcomes following anatomic shoulder arthroplasty

The volume of shoulder replacements performed has grown exponentially in the last decade due to its success in relieving pain and improving function with modern techniques and implants, but concerns regarding its longevity remain. The most common reason for failure in the long-term is loosening of the glenoid component. Progression of radiolucent lines is a worrisome sign that may suggest glenoid component loosening. However, the presence of radiolucent lines, as noted in the article, have been reported between 0-100% of the time with the lines frequently present on immediate postoperative radiographs. The presence of lines does appear to increase with longer follow up. The significance of these lines, aside from concern for loosening, is debated.

The authors of this study performed a retrospective review of all total shoulder arthroplasties (TSAs) over an 11-year period with all-polyethylene pegged or keeled glenoid components with a minimum 2-year followup. A multi-center research database was utilized. Glenoid lines were graded by the Lazarus scale, which grades lines on a scale from 0 (no lucency) to 5 (gross loosening or shift in component position). Demographic data was collected as well as patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures, including ASES score, Constant score, UCLA score, Simple Shoulder Test score, and Shoulder Pain and Disability Index score. Patients’ active range of motion was recorded as well. The authors only examined traditional all-polyethylene cemented implants, specifically excluding patients with a central in-growth peg as a previous study by Grey SG, et al, showed significantly reduced radiolucent lines with this prosthesis. This was recently confirmed in the study by Friedman RJ, et al, which showed a rate of lucent lines in 9% of patients with the hybrid cage glenoid versus 37.6% in all polyethylene pegged glenoids (p < .0001).

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Navigated Ream and Run Procedure with ExactechGPS

Moby Parsons, MD

The Ream and Run shoulder replacement is a great option for younger patients with shoulder arthritis who have failed conservative treatment yet wish to maintain a high level of activity. Because the weak link in shoulder replacement is the plastic socket implant, avoiding the insertion of this reduces the risk of failure, particularly for patients who intend to subject their shoulder to moderate stress over a long period of time. The Ream and Run resurfaces the ball, removes the bone spurs, releases the contracted tissues and reshapes the worn socket to a smooth and conforming concavity to mate with the ball.

While partial shoulder replacement (hemiarthroplasty) has historically gotten a bad reputation for having inferior results to total shoulder replacement, the results cannot be generalized to all cases. Many glenoids (socket) have substantial wear and erosion from the arthritic process. If such wear is not addressed at the time of hemiathroplasty, patients are at high risk of continued pain and abnormal joint mechanics. The Walch classification shows the different patterns of wear with the B1, B2 and B3 being both common and problematic. In these patterns, the ball shifts to the back of the arthritic socket and results in progressive erosion of the posterior glenoid. Failure to recenter and reshape the head into a single concavity will result in failure of hemiarthroplasty.

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PRP: Should I Be Using It?

Kaveh Sajadi, MD


PRP, platelet-rich plasma, is touted by some to be a revolutionary treatment with the potential to heal or alleviate any number of ailments, from arthritis to tendinopathies to tendon tears or ruptures. The idea is to use the body’s own “healing” system to repair damaged tissue by amplifying it–increasing the concentration of platelets and their accompanying growth factors, which is then injected into the diseased or injured area.

Platelets are typically activated when a blood vessel is damaged. When the platelet is activated to clot, it also releases many growth factors which are contained within the alpha granules in the platelet. The growth factors present include PDGF (platelet-derived growth factor), important in wound healing, VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), which recruits the body to form new blood vessels, as well as many other signaling factors and cytokines.

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Stress Fractures After rTSA. Not Every Onlay is Created Equal.

Ian Byram, MD

Read complete study: Increased scapular spine fractures after reverse shoulder arthroplasty with a humeral onlay short stem: an analysis of 485 consecutive cases

Since its FDA clearance in 2003, reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) has become increasingly utilized for the treatment of arthritis, fractures, and rotator cuff failures in the United States. Initial reports demonstrated a high rate of complications, including instability, impingement, scapular notching, and subsequent implant failure.Many implant designs have been successfully modified to minimize these problems. While scapular notching seen with the initial Grammont style prosthesis has decreased with modern lateralized implant designs, scapular spine fractures have become more prevalent.

The authors of this study analyzed a series of RSA cases utilizing a short stem, 145° neck-shaft inclination prosthesis hoping to shed light on implant features that may lead to scapular spine fractures. In a retrospective review of 485 consecutive arthroplasties, they reported 21 (4.3%) scapular spine fractures that were diagnosed at a mean of 8.6 months after surgery. Comparing those patients with matched controls, patients with fractures demonstrated significantly worse Constant scores and forward flexion. They concluded that utilization of a lateralized “onlay” convertible humeral design creates increased stress on the deltoid and acromion, resulting in an undesirable rate of scapular spine and acromial fractures.

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Scapular Fractures After RSA – The Bane of Our Existence

Stephanie Muh, MD

Read complete study: Scapular fracture in reverse shoulder arthroplasty (Grammont Style): prevalence, functional, and radiographic results with minimum 5-year follow up

The development of postoperative scapular spine or acromial base fractures remains a difficult problem to treat. With a reported incidence of 1-10% in the literature, there has been no consensus on the best treatment, and most authors report poor post-fracture functional outcomes.1-3 Both operative and nonoperative management of these fractures have been advocated with variable outcomes.2,3

This retrospective study presents data from a large cohort of patients with a single prosthetic design (Grammont style with medialized center of rotation and medialized humerus with inlay prosthesis). The authors found an overall prevalence of 1.3% scapular fractures in 1,953 implants. This seems to correlate with other literature where the incidence ranged from 1-10%.1-4 When evaluating the functional results with a minimum of five years follow-up, 19 fractures were identified with an overall improved range of motion and Constant score. It is important to note, however, the patients with fractures did not improve as greatly as those without fractures. While the postoperative Constant score improved from 25.6 to 47 postoperatively, the authors note the average postoperative Constant score in a non-fracture group is 70. They did not directly compare the fracture group range of motion to non-fracture group which I think would have added valuable information. It would have been interesting if the authors presented initial improvement postoperatively and compared this to post-fracture outcomes and commented if there was function.

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To Repair, or Not to Repair, That is the Question…

Kaveh Sajadi, MD

Read complete study: The effect of subscapularis repair on dislocation rates in reverse shoulder arthroplasty: a meta-analysis and systematic review

Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to bear the slings and arrows of our colleagues…

The role of the subscapularis in reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (rTSA) continues to be debated. Reverse TSA is most commonly performed via a deltopectoral approach, which often requires takedown of an intact, though possibly degenerated or atrophic, subscapularis tendon. Surgeons debate the importance of its repair at the conclusion of the surgery. This debate centers on the importance and role of the subscapularis in stability of the prosthesis, range of motion (both internal and external rotation), and outcomes. Those in favor of repair cite studies indicating lower dislocation rates with repair and better internal rotation; those opposed express concern about it potentially limiting external rotation and possibly opposing the deltoid in elevating the arm.1 This meta-analysis and systematic review sought to compare the dislocation rates and outcomes in rTSA with and without subscapularis tendon repair using the highest level of data available.

This meta-analysis and systematic review sought to compare the dislocation rates and outcomes in rTSA with and without subscapularis tendon repair using the highest level of data available.

It is important to clarify some descriptions used in the study. Since the introduction of the original Grammont style reverse prosthesis in the late 1980s and early 1990s, many different design modifications have been introduced.2 The primary differentiating characteristic between implant designs is the location of the center of rotation (COR) of the new glenohumeral articulation. By their very nature, all reverse designs medialize the COR compared with the native shoulder. However, systems with the COR at the glenoid face, as the original Grammont design, are considered medialized and those with the COR lateral to the glenoid are referred to in this paper as lateralized designs. Furthermore, the implant can have a medialized humerus (Grammont) or a lateralized humerus. Routman HD, et al, proposed a classification to standardize the nomenclature, dividing implants into the medial glenoid/medial humerus (Grammont), lateral glenoid/medial humerus, and medial glenoid/lateral humerus.2,3 Some of the implants in this study, classified as lateralized glenoids by the authors, are classified as medial glenoid/lateral humerus by Routman.

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Instability Remains a Leading Cause of Complications in Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty

Moby Parsons, MD

Read complete study: Analysis of 4063 complications of shoulder arthroplasty reported to the US Food and Drug Administration from 2012 to 2016

In this article, Somerson and colleagues queried the Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE) database for failure modes of anatomic and reverse shoulder arthroplasty. The authors identified 2,390 reports on reverse total shoulder arthroplasty of which 32% were for dislocation/instability. This was more than twice the rate of the next most commonly reported complication of infection at 13.8%. This rate concurred with findings by Bohsali et al1 who reported 31.2% of reverse shoulder complications due to instability in an analysis of published reports.

However, given that most complications are not reported in the medical literature, the actual incidence of dislocation is not known and may be higher. Risk factors have included higher body mass index, fracture sequelae, axillary nerve injury, soft tissue and bone impingement, improper implant placement, and inadequate soft tissue tension. The role of the subscapularis in reverse arthroplasty stability is controversial with some reports of a higher risk of dislocation in the subscapularis deficient shoulder and other reports of no difference in instability rates regardless of integrity. In general, instability after reverse shoulder arthroplasty occurs relatively early in the postoperative setting and often requires revision surgery. It remains a substantial problem.

In general, instability after reverse shoulder arthroplasty occurs relatively early in the postoperative setting and often requires revision surgery. It remains a substantial problem.

Prosthesis design may play a role in instability although the effect of design parameters on stability biomechanics has not been fully defined. In this report, the two designs with the highest dislocation percentage are both humeral inlay designs. Considering that some cases of instability occur from bone or soft tissue impingement, particularly in adduction, it stands to reason that onlay designs which provide humeral lateralization may be less at risk for this problem. For example, the  Equinoxe® shoulder system, which is an onlay system with a 145° neck/shaft angle, has shown low rates of scapular notching compared to traditional Grammont-style designs which are inlay systems with a 155-degree neck shaft angle.2  Glenosphere lateralization may also reduce this risk of instability.3 The Equinoxe shoulder system provides lateralized glenospheres, which when combined with an eccentric baseplate, may help protect against postoperative dislocation. The ExactechGPS® Shoulder Application’s preoperative planning tool and ExactechGPS® intraoperative navigation can also be used to improve implant position, and in cadaveric studies have shown to increase implant accuracy and precision when used together.4

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CT-Based Intraoperative Navigation for Glenoid Placement in TSA

Moby Parsons, MD

3D imaging technology has led to a much better understanding of glenoid morphology and how it is affected by the wear process in shoulder arthritis. The pathologic triad as described by Matsen1 (1. posterior humeral subluxation; 2. increased glenoid retroversion; 3. biconcave glenoid) is encountered in many arthritic shoulders. Other wear patterns like superior erosion may also commonly occur in certain conditions like cuff tear arthropathy. One of the principle goals of shoulder replacement, whether anatomic or reverse, is to recognize and correct pathologic glenoid deformity as failure to do so may risk premature loosening of the glenoid implant due to abnormal loading mechanics.

Unfortunately, even experienced shoulder surgeons do a poor job in correcting glenoid erosion. A meta-analysis by Sadoghi et al demonstrated an average error in glenoid correction of +/- 11 degrees2. Other research by Iannotti et al showed an angular variability of 10 degrees in pin placement using a free-hand technique3.

Advanced CT imaging has allowed surgeons to preoperatively plan the placement of the glenoid component with the goal of correcting pathologic version, minimizing bone loss and preventing penetration of the glenoid vault.

This lack of precision is no longer acceptable given today’s technology. Advanced CT imaging has allowed surgeons to preoperatively plan the placement of the glenoid component with the goal of correcting the pathologic version, minimizing bone loss and preventing penetration of the glenoid vault. As many systems now offer augmented glenoid implants, such systems also allow selection of the optimal implant for each given case. Research looking at the ability of surgeons to recreate a preoperative plan using conventional, free-hand instruments compared to surgical navigation has been performed. The results demonstrate that even with planning, a surgeon’s ability to execute that plan remains very inaccurate. The scatter plot above shows the range of implantation variability without navigation in blue compared to with navigation in orange. These results clearly show that eye-balling it in the operating room is no longer acceptable with today’s technology.

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The Effect of Lateralization on the Rotator Cuff Following Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty

Stephanie Muh, MD

Read complete study: Clinical Outcomes after Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty with and without subscapularis repair: The Importance of considering glenosphere lateralization

There continues to be significant debate on whether subscapularis repair is necessary during reverse total shoulder arthroplasty. Historically subscapularis repair was felt to be necessary to provide anterior soft tissue stability and help prevent post-operative dislocation. There have been multiple articles written on both the advantages and disadvantages of subscapularis repair. It should be noted that most previous articles that strongly advocated subscapularis repair included the traditional Grammont-style prosthesis with a medialized glenosphere and valgus medialized humeral stem (155 degrees).

This article retrospectively reviews patients who underwent reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA). They first stratified the subscapularis repair group versus no repair. The authors then looked at the effects of glenosphere lateralization (0mm lateralization vs +3 or +6mm) in both groups to determine if this played a significant role. The humeral stem used in the study has a neck shaft angle of 147 degrees but a humeral stem with no lateralization. ASES score from baseline was the primary outcome measured with a minimum of two-year follow-up.

The study demonstrated patients with no subscapularis repair and lateralization had the most overall improvement in ASES scores. This supports the design rationale of the Equinoxe® reverse shoulder system.

Overall, the authors found no difference in ASES scores when comparing subscapularis repair versus no repair. The authors also reported that subscapularis management and lateralized glenosphere individually did not have significant effect on ASES scores. However, analysis did find that patients with subscapularis repair with a lateralized glenosphere did worse compared to subscapularis repair with medialized glenosphere and no repair with lateralized glenosphere.

This article demonstrates the impact of the combined effect of subscapularis management with glenosphere lateralization on clinical outcomes. The study demonstrated patients with no subscapularis repair and lateralization had the most overall improvement in ASES scores. This supports the design rationale of the Equinoxe® reverse shoulder system. Continue reading