The reverse shoulder prosthesis: A review of imaging features and complications

Edward G. McFarland, Prakasit Sanguanjit, Atsushi Tasaki, Ekavit Keyurapan, Elliot K. Fishman, Laura M. Fayad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background: The reverse shoulder prosthesis is a prosthesis that has been in clinical use in Europe since 1985 and was approved for use in the United States in 2004. This unique prosthesis has a baseplate attached to the glenoid, which holds a spherical component, while the humeral component includes a polyethylene insert that is flat. This design is the "reverse" configuration of that seen with a conventional arthroplasty, in which the spherical component is part of the humeral component. The indications for the reverse prosthesis are: (1) painful arthritis associated with irreparable rotator cuff tears (cuff tear arthropathy), (2) failed hemiarthroplasty with irreparable rotator cuff tears, (3) pseudoparalysis due to massive, irreparable rotator cuff tears, (4) some reconstructions after tumor resection, and (5) some fractures of the shoulder not repairable or reconstructable with other techniques. This prosthesis can produce a significant reduction in pain and some improvement in function for most of the indications mentioned. However, the unique configuration and the challenge of its insertion can result in a high incidence of a wide variety of unusual complications. Some of these complications, such as dislocation of the components, are similar to conventional shoulder replacement. Other complications, such as notching of the scapula and acromial stress fractures, are unique to this prosthesis. Conclusion: The configuration of the reverse prosthesis, its normal radiographic appearance and potential complications associated with its use are reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-496
Number of pages9
JournalSkeletal Radiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Complications
  • Prosthesis
  • Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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