What is the Optimal Reconstruction Option after the Resection of Proximal Humeral Tumors? A Systematic Review

Andrew Dubina1, Brian Shiu2, Mohit Gilotra2, S. Ashfaq Hasan2, Daniel Lerman2, Vincent Y. Ng3, *
1 University of Maryland - Orthopaedics, Baltimore, MD, USA
2 University of Maryland Medical Center - Orthopaedics, Baltimore, MD, USA
3 University of Maryland Medical Center - Orthopaedics, 110 S. Paca St, 6th Floor, Baltimore, 21201, MD, USA

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© 2017 Dubina et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the University of Maryland Medical Center - Orthopaedics, 110 S. Paca St, 6th Floor, Baltimore, 21201, MD, USA; Tel: 443-462-5903; E-mail:



The proximal humerus is a common location for both primary and metastatic bone tumors. There are numerous reconstruction options after surgical resection. There is no consensus on the ideal method of reconstruction.


A systematic review was performed with a focus on the surgical reconstructive options for lesions involving the proximal humerus.


A total of 50 articles and 1227 patients were included for analysis. Reoperation rates were autograft arthrodesis (11%), megaprosthesis (10%), RSA (17%), hemiarthroplasty (26%), and osteoarticular allograft (34%). Mechanical failure rates, including prosthetic loosening, fracture, and dislocation, were highest in allograft-containing constructs (APC, osteoarticular allograft, arthrodesis) followed by arthroplasty (hemiarthroplasty, RSA, megaprosthesis) and lowest for autografts (vascularized fibula, autograft arthrodesis). Infections involving RSA (9%) were higher than hemiarthroplasty (0%) and megaprosthesis (4%).

Postoperative function as measured by MSTS score were similar amongst all prosthetic options, ranging from 66% to 74%, and claviculo pro humeri (CPH) was slightly better (83%). Patients were generally limited to active abduction of approximately 45° and no greater than 90°. With resection of the rotator cuff, deltoid muscle or axillary nerve, function and stability were compromised even further. If the rotator cuff was sacrificed but the deltoid and axillary nerve preserved, active forward flexion and abduction were superior with RSA.


Various reconstruction techniques for the proximal humerus lead to relatively similar functional results. Surgical choice should be tailored to anatomic defect and functional requirements.

Keywords: Reconstruction, Megaprosthesis, Allograft, Shoulder, Proximal Humerus, Tumor.