Original Article|Articles in Press

Factors affecting stress shielding and osteolysis after reverse shoulder arthroplasty: A multicenter study in a Japanese population

Published:January 27, 2023DOI:



      Stress shielding and osteolysis around the humeral stem after reverse shoulder arthroplasty causes loosening and periprosthetic fractures and reduces bone stock during revision surgery. In Japanese patients, who have relatively small bodies, different characteristics may exist regarding the occurrence of these changes compared with the characteristics of Westerners, who have relatively larger frames. The purpose of this multicenter study was to investigate the incidence and clarify the predictors of stress shielding and osteolysis in Japanese individuals who underwent reverse shoulder arthroplasty.


      The occurrence of stress shielding and osteolysis was investigated in 135 shoulders that had undergone reverse shoulder arthroplasty at least 2 years prior in five Japanese hospitals. During post-surgical follow-up, which was conducted every 3 months, the locations of the stress shielding occurrences, such as cortical thinning and osteopenia (which primarily occurred in zones 1, 2, and 7, where 1 is the greater tuberosity and 7 is the calcar part), spot weld, and condensation lines, were recorded. Cases without any abnormal findings on radiographs obtained up to ≥2 years after surgery were regarded as having no abnormalities. Finally, the predictors of cortical thinning and proximal humeral osteolysis were assessed using univariate and multivariate regression analyses.


      Cortical thinning and osteopenia occurred in 68 shoulders, a condensation line occurred in 37 shoulders, and spot weld occurred in 23 shoulders. In particular, greater tuberosity and calcar osteolysis occurred in 40 and 47 shoulders, respectively. Long stem, cementless stem, and a larger proximal filling ratio were independent predictors of cortical thinning and osteopenia, whereas a cementless stem, larger metaphysis diameter, and a larger proximal filling ratio were associated with proximal humeral osteolysis.


      The predictors of stress shielding and osteolysis included the use of long stems, cementless stems, larger proximal filling ratios, and larger metaphysis diameters.

      Level of evidence

      retrospective comparative study (Level III).


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