Acromial base fractures after reverse total shoulder arthroplasty: Report of five cases

Trevor C. Wahlquist, Allan F. Hunt, Jonathan P Braman

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76 Scopus citations


Background: Most series of reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (rTSA) have reported acromial fractures, but they have not been shown to alter reported outcomes in most series. We present 5 patients with acromial base fractures where the entire deltoid origin was displaced from its anatomic location. Materials and methods: Five patients with acromial base fractures after rTSA were identified and evaluated for functional outcomes and pain relief as well as results of fracture treatment. Three were treated operatively and 3 were treated nonoperatively. One nonoperative treatment eventually required open reduction and internal fixation. Results: Function was limited after fracture, with average forward elevation of only 43° but which improved to 84° after fracture union. Pain was significant after the fracture (6.8 of 10) and improved with fracture healing (0.8 of 10). Neer Functional Outcome scores after fracture union averaged 62 of 100, consistent with unsatisfactory results. Conclusion: Acromial base fractures after rTSA are a painful and disabling complication. The outcomes appear different in this series than in other series describing acromial fractures. This may be a result of the different anatomic location of the fractures. Pain improves with fracture union, but functional returns are unpredictable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1178-1183
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011


  • Acromial base fracture
  • Case Series
  • Level IV
  • Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty
  • Treatment Study


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