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Systematic Review

Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty

a systematic review and meta-analysis of complications and patient outcomes dependent on prosthesis design

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This systematic review asked which patterns of complications are associated with the three reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA) prosthetic designs, as classified by Routman et al, in patients undergoing RTSA for the management of cuff tear arthropathy, massive cuff tear, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The three implant design philosophies investigated were medial glenoid/medial humerus (MGMH), medial glenoid/lateral humerus (MGLH), and lateral glenoid/medial humerus (LGMH).


A systematic review of the literature was performed via a search of MEDLINE and Embase. Two reviewers extracted data on complication occurrence and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). Meta-analysis was conducted on the reported proportion of complications, weighted by sample size, and PROMs were pooled using the reported standardized mean difference (SMD). Quality of methodology was assessed using Wylde’s non-summative four-point system. The study was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42020193041).


A total of 42 studies met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Rates of scapular notching were found to be significantly higher in MGMH implants (52% (95% confidence interval (CI) 40 to 63)) compared with MGLH ((18% (95% CI 6 to 34)) and LGMH (12% (95% CI 3 to 26)). Higher rates of glenoid loosening were seen in MGMH implants (6% (95% CI 3 to 10)) than in MGLH implants (0% (95% CI 0 to 2)). However, strength of evidence for this finding was low. No significant differences were identified in any other complication, and there were no significant differences observed in PROMs between implant philosophies.


This systematic review has found significant improvement in PROMS and low complication rates across the implant philosophies studied. Scapular notching was the only complication found definitely to have significantly higher prevalence with the MGMH implant design.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2021;103-B(5):813–821.

Correspondence should be sent to Miss Eleanor G. Burden. E-mail:

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