header advert
Orthopaedic Proceedings Logo

Receive monthly Table of Contents alerts from Orthopaedic Proceedings

Comprehensive article alerts can be set up and managed through your account settings

View my account settings

Visit Orthopaedic Proceedings at:



Full Access

General Orthopaedics


Current Concepts in Joint Replacement (CCJR) – Spring 2015


Removal of a well-fixed humeral component during revision shoulder arthroplasty presents a challenging problem. If the humeral component cannot be extracted simply from above, an alternate approach must be taken that may include compromising bone architecture to remove the implant. Two potential solutions to this problem that allow removal of the well-fixed prosthesis are making a humeral window or creating a longitudinal split in the humerus.

A retrospective review was performed at the Mayo Clinic to determine the complications associated with performing humeral windows and longitudinal splits during the course of revision shoulder arthroplasty. This study included 427 patients from 1994–2010 at Mayo Clinic undergoing revision shoulder arthroplasty. From this cohort, those who required a humeral window or a longitudinal split to assist removal of a well-fixed humeral component were identified. Twenty-seven patients had a humeral window produced to remove a well-fixed humeral component. Six intra-operative fractures were reported from this group: 5 were in the greater tuberosity and 1 was in the distal humeral shaft. At the latest radiographic follow-up, 24 of 27 windows healed, 2 patients had limited inconclusive radiographic follow-up (1 and 2 months), and 1 did not have follow-up at our institution. Twenty-four patients underwent longitudinal osteotomy to extract a well-fixed humeral component. From this group, 1 had intra-operative fracture in the greater tuberosity. At most recent radiographic follow-up, 22 of 24 longitudinal splits healed, 1 had short follow-up (1 ½ months) with demonstrated signs of healing, and 1 did not have follow-up at our institution.

In both groups, there were no cases of window malunion and no components have developed clinical loosening. Data from this study suggests humeral windows and longitudinal splits can assist with controlled removal of well-fixed humeral components with a high rate of union and a low rate of intra-operative and post-operative sequelae.