Treatment of complications of shoulder arthrodesis

Gordon I. Groh, Gerald R. Williams, Robert N. Jarman, Charles A. Rockwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


A reconstructive osteotomy was performed to correct symptomatic malposition after arthrodesis of the shoulder in nine of fourteen patients who had complications related to the arthrodesis. The clinical position of the arm in relation to the trunk was determined with the method described by Rowe. Malposition was primarily the result of fusion in more than 15 degrees of either flexion or abduction, or both, coupled with improper rotation, defined as rotation of less than 40 degrees or more than 60 degrees. Reconstructive osteotomy eliminated pain and improved the ability of the patient to perform six activities of daily living. The complications necessitating operative treatment after the arthrodesis in the remaining five patients included failure of the arthrodesis site to unite (three patients), a wound hematoma at the iliac-crest donor site (one patient), and a superficial wound infection (one patient). Two additional complications - a fracture through a screw-hole in the humerus and a fracture distal to the internal fixation device - occurred after the reconstructive osteotomies for malposition. All of the complications resolved with treatment. Arthrodesis of the shoulder is a technically demanding procedure that can lead to serious complications that necessitate operative intervention. Careful attention to operative technique and to the position of the arthrodesis are essential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-887
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - American Volume
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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