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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2007 May-Jun;16(3 Suppl):S33-8. Epub 2006 Dec 13.

Early versus late mobilization after hemiarthroplasty for proximal humeral fractures.

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Liverpool Upper Limb Unit, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool, England.


This randomized controlled trial compares 2 mobilization regimens after shoulder hemiarthroplasty for acute 3- and 4-part fractures. The aim was to establish whether the length of immobilization plays a role in the functional outcome, tuberosity healing, and subsequent range of motion. The same prosthesis and surgical technique were used. We recruited 59 patients into the study; 31 were randomized to early (2 weeks) mobilization and 28 to late (6 weeks) mobilization. Greater tuberosity migration was assessed with a series of radiographs, and the functional outcome was assessed with the Constant Shoulder Assessment and Oxford shoulder scores. Of the patients, 49 (mean age, 70 years) met the inclusion criteria and were followed up for 12 months. Greater tuberosity migration occurred in 3 cases in the early mobilization group and once in the late mobilization group (P > .10). There was no significant difference in the Constant Shoulder Assessment and Oxford scores between the 2 groups. Although there was a decreased incidence of tuberosity migration in the group undergoing late mobilization, this was not statistically significant.

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