Is arthroplasty necessary for three and four-part proximal humerus fractures in elderly?

Management of proximal humerus fractures in elderly



Humerus fractures, Elderly patients, Revers shoulder arthroplasty


Background/Aim: Proximal humerus fractures are common in elderly patients. Treatment of three and four-part fractures is especially controversial in these patients. In recent years, surgical options have been widely used, especially among shoulder surgeons. The purpose of this study was to compare clinical results of conservative and arthroplasty methods.

Methods: Between 2016 and 2020, 30 patients who were treated for Neer type 3 and type 4 proximal humeral fractures were included in the study. Patient data were evaluated retrospectively and then divided into three groups. Group 1 was treated conservatively, group 2 underwent hemiarthroplasty; and group 3 underwent reverse total shoulder arthroplasty. CONSTANT and visual analog scale (VAS) scores and radiological results at six months were evaluated retrospectively from patient records. At the last control they have been evaluated with CONSTANT, University of California/Los Angeles. (UCLA), and VAS scores.

Results: Twenty-three (76.7%) of the patients included in the study were females. The mean age was 73.5 (5.7) years. The mean follow-up period was 33 (2.5) months. The mean follow-up periods in groups 1–3 were 33.3 (2.9), 32.8 (2), and 32.2 (2.9) months, respectively. When the CONSTANT scores of the patients were compared at the sixth month, they were observed to be better in the reverse total shoulder arthroplasty group (P = 0.001). Final control CONSTANT scores in the hemiarthroplasty group were lower than in the other groups (P = 0.001) and similar in the reverse shoulder prosthesis and conservative treatment group (P = 1). When the UCLA scores of all groups were compared, the mean UCLA scores were found to be significantly higher in groups 1 and 3 compared to group 2 (P = 0.001). When the VAS scores of the patients were compared, a significant difference between all groups was detected (P < 0.05). The highest VAS scores were observed in group 2, the second highest in group 1, and the lowest in group 3.

Conclusion: For treatment of proximal humerus fractures in the elderly, patients should be evaluated according to activity levels and expectations, and surgical treatment should be suggested rather than ordered.


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Demirtas Y, Kaya O, Emet A. Is arthroplasty necessary for three and four-part proximal humerus fractures in elderly? Management of proximal humerus fractures in elderly. J Surg Med [Internet]. 2022 Dec. 17 [cited 2023 Feb. 6];6(12):971-6. Available from: