Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty in Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Systematic Review

Edward C.A. Gee*, Emma K. Hanson, Adnan Saithna
Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, Town Lane, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 6PN, UK

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 976
Abstract HTML Views: 317
PDF Downloads: 230
Total Views/Downloads: 1523
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 587
Abstract HTML Views: 236
PDF Downloads: 171
Total Views/Downloads: 994

Creative Commons License
© Gee et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Southport and Formby District General Hospital, Town Lane, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 6PN, UK; Tel: (+44) 1704 547471; E-mail:



Anatomical shoulder replacement for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is complicated by a high incidence of rotator cuff tears and glenoid erosion. This can lead to poor function and early failure. Reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) has gained popularity as an alternative. This systematic review attempts to further define the role of RSA in RA.


A systematic review identified seven studies reporting outcomes of RSA in RA patients. Studies were critically appraised, and data on outcomes, complications and technical considerations were extracted and analysed.


One hundred and twenty one shoulders were included (mean follow up 46.9 months). Consistent improvements in the main outcome measures were noted between studies. Ninety five percent of patients described excellent to satisfactory outcomes. The minimum mean forward elevation reported in each study was 115 degrees. Symptomatic glenoid loosening (1.7%), deep infection (3.3%) and revision surgery (5%) rates were no higher than for a population of mixed aetiologies.


Previous concerns regarding high pre- and peri-operative complication and revision rates in RA patients were not shown to be valid by the results of this review. Although associated cuff tears are common and glenoid bone loss can increase the technical complexity of surgery, RSA provides consistent and predictable improvements in key outcome measures and the revision and complication rates do not appear to be higher than reported in a large population of mixed aetiologies.


The contemporary literature shows that RSA is a safe, effective and reliable treatment option in RA patients.

Keywords: Outcomes, reverse shoulder arthroplasty, rheumatoid arthritis..