Scapulohumeral arthrodesis with a reconstruction plate

Last revised by Jeremy Jones on 12 Mar 2023

Shoulder arthrodesis with reconstruction plate aims to relieve pain and provide a stable site for elbow and hand function and also to allow for active and limited elevation of the shoulder with scapulothoracic motion. Plates are a useful method for glenohumeral salvage in cases without severe bone deficiency with the advantage that the plate can be bent easily and precisely depending on the anatomical position and adequate bony arthrodesis can be achieved. Sometimes autologous and homologous bone grafting is performed in tuberculous arthritis, bone tumors to correct severe bone deficit.

Evaluation criteria include bony union and pain

Indications for shoulder arthrodesis are:

Combination of intra-articular and extra-articular fixation with adequate stability and bony fusion after intra-articular fixation with reconstruction plate, better with polyether-ether-ketone (PEEK).

Complications of shoulder hemiarthroplasty include the following:

  • bony nonunion

  • malposition of the joint

  • fracture around the arthrodesis

  • infection

  • pain and irritation of soft tissues by of the implant

Success of arthrodesis is determined by bone growth across the glenohumeral joint as visualized on axillary radiographs.

Anteroposterior and axillary views are usually obtained initially for postoperative control and also for follow-up examinations. Follow-up radiographic imaging is performed at 2, 6, 12, and 24 months after surgery to evaluate bone union, position of fixation devices, possibly with polyether-ether-ketone (PEEK), to prevent stress shielding of the proximal humerus with bone resorption.

The radiological report should include a description of the following features:

  • radiologic bone fusion with bone growth of the glenohumeral joint that occurs on average within 4 to 14 months after surgery. When there is radiological bony union, shoulder pain is completely abolished

  • study glenohumeral implant: plate and screws

  • possible fractures

The implants are removed after an average of approximately 16 months.

'Arthrodesis' is derived from the Greek words άρθρωση + δέσῐς, meaning 'joint' and 'binding together', respectively.

Scapulohumeral arthrodesis was first introduced in 1878 by the Bohemian surgeon Eduard Albert.

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Cases and figures

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