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Systematic Review

Management of periprosthetic fractures of the humerus

a systematic review

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The aim of this study was to investigate the outcome of periprosthetic fractures of the humerus and to assess the uniformity of the classifications used for these fractures (including those around elbow and/or shoulder arthroplasties) by performing a systematic review of the literature.


A systematic search was conducted using the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Healthcare Databases Advance Search. For inclusion, studies had to report clinical outcomes following the management of periprosthetic fractures of the humerus. The protocol was registered on the PROSPERO database.


Overall, 40 studies were included, involving a total of 210 patients. The fractures were reported using very heterogeneous classification systems, as were the functional outcome scores. A total of 60 patients had nonoperative treatment with a 50% rate of nonunion. Fixation was undertaken in 99 patients; successful union was obtained in 93 (93%). Revision of either the humeral stem or the whole arthroplasty was reported in 79 patients with a high rate of union (n = 66; 84%), and a mean rate of complications of 29% (0% to 41%).


This study highlighted a lack of uniformity in classifying these fractures and reporting the outcome of their treatment. The results may help to inform decision-making with patients, particularly about the rate of complications of nonoperative treatment. There is a need to improve the reporting of the pattern of these fractures using a uniform classification system, and the harmonization of the collection of data relating to the outcome of treatment. Based on this review, we propose a minimum dataset to be used in future studies.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2022;104-B(4):416–423.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr Hany Mourkus. E-mail:

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