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Return to sport after reverse total shoulder arthroplasty is highly frequent: a systematic review


Importance One of the most frequent concerns of the increasing number of patients undergoing shoulder arthroplasty is the possibility to resume sport after surgery.

Objective The aim of this systematic review was to determine the rate of return to sport after reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) and the subjective level of performance.

Evidence review The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines were followed to perform this systematic review. A systematic electronic search was performed using the PubMed (MEDLINE), Embase and Cochrane Library databases. All the studies analysing the rates were pooled; data were extracted and statistically analysed. The eligibility criteria were studies with at least 20 adult patients recruited. All studies had to relate return to sports after RSA.

Findings A total of six studies were included for a total of 457 patients. Mean age and average follow-up were, respectively, 74.7 years (range 33–88 years) and 3.6 years (range 1–9.4 years). The mean rate of return to sport ranged from 60% to 93%. The mean time for resuming sports was 5.3 months. The overall rate of return to sport after reverse shoulder arthroplasty was 79%. The mean level of sports at the time of the survey was worsened in 7.9%, improved in 39.6% and had no change in 55.2% of the cases.

Conclusions and relevance Based on the current available data, return to sports after reverse shoulder arthroplasty is possible and highly frequent. The subjective level of practice undergoes no change or improves in most of the cases. More studies and better-designed trials are needed in order to enrich the evidence on specific sports recovery after the procedure.

Level of evidence IV.

  • shoulder
  • orthopaedic procedures
  • orthopaedic sports medicine
  • arthroplasty
  • replacement

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