Surgical Management of Proximal Humeral Fractures: The Emerging Role of Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty
Acute proximal humeral fractures are common injuries in elderly patients. These fractures can lead to significant pain and functional loss. Nonoperative treatment offers high rates of satisfactory function and pain relief in the majority of fractures, particularly in elderly patients. Open reduction and internal fixation, closed reduction and percutaneous pinning, and hemiarthroplasty are used for treating displaced proximal humeral fractures, depending on patient and fracture characteristics. Recently, reverse total shoulder arthroplasty has gained popularity for treatment of complex proximal humeral fractures due to a rapid recovery of active elevation and activities of daily living function.
Although complications remain a concern, early results of reverse total shoulder arthroplasty for proximal humeral fractures have been promising. Future comparative outcome studies are needed to define the indications for reverse total shoulder arthroplasty instead of nonoperative and other operative options. Optimal treatment of proximal humeral fractures requires clinical judgment based on fracture characteristics, bone quality, patient factors, and surgeon experience with the array of available techniques.