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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2012 Aug;470(8):2185-92. doi: 10.1007/s11999-012-2277-8. Epub 2012 Feb 11.

Are shoulders with a reverse shoulder prosthesis strong enough? A pilot study.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



It has been suggested that limited active ROM of reverse shoulder prostheses relates to lack of strength. However, the postoperative strength has not been quantified.


We therefore measured joint torques in patients with reverse shoulder prostheses and correlated torques with functional scores.


We recruited 33 patients (age, 72 ± 8 years) with a reverse prosthesis (37 shoulders, 21 primary and 16 revisions). We obtained Constant-Murley, DASH, and Simple Shoulder Test ([D]SST) scores, and performed two isokinetic protocols (abduction/adduction and external/internal rotation) at 60° per second. Minimum followup was 4 months (average, 23 months; range, 4-63 months).


Twenty-three patients (24 shoulders; 13 primaries, 11 revisions) were able to perform at least one of the defined tasks. Mean abduction and adduction torques were 15 Nm ± 7 Nm and 16 Nm ± 10 Nm (19%-78% of normal shoulders). External and internal rotation tasks could be performed by only 13 patients (14 shoulders; nine primary, five revisions) generating 9 Nm ± 4 Nm and 8 Nm ± 3 Nm, respectively (13%-71% of normal shoulders). We found moderate correlations between Constant-Murley, DASH and (D)SST (D = Dutch translation) scores and abduction and external rotation.


Patients with a reverse prosthesis had reduced strength when compared with normal values reported in the literature (only 65% of patients could perform the protocol). This effect was greatest for external rotation and might explain clinical outcomes with which a moderately strong relationship was observed. Our observations suggest limited strength is a major factor in reduced ROM.

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