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Background: Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (rTSA) is utilized for a variety of indications, but most commonly for patients with rotator cuff arthropathy. This procedure reduces pain, improves satisfaction, and increases clinically measured range of motion (ROM). However, traditional clinical ROM measurements captured via goniometer may not accurately represent ‘real-world’ utilization of ROM. In contrast, inertial measurement units (IMUs) are useful for establishing ROM outside the clinical setting. We sought to measure ‘real-world’ ROM after rTSA using IMUs.

Methods: A previously validated IMU-based method for continuously capturing shoulder elevation was used to assess 10 individuals receiving rTSA (1M, 82 ± 5 years) and compared to a previously captured 10 healthy individuals (4M, 69 ± 20 years) without shoulder dysfunction. Control subject data were previously collected over 1 week of continuous use. Patients undergoing rTSA donned sensors for 1 week pre-rTSA, 6 weeks at 3 months post-rTSA following clearance to perform active-independent ROM, and 1 week at 1 year and 2 years post-rTSA. Shoulder elevation was computed continuously each day. Daily continuous elevation was broken into 5° angle ‘bins’ (eg, 0-5°, 5-10°, etc.) and converted to percentage of the total day. IMU-based outcome measures were ROM binned percent (as described previously) and maximum/average elevation each week. Clinical goniometric ROM and patient-reported outcome measures were also captured.

Results: No differences existed between patient and healthy control demographics. While patients showed improvement in American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeon (ASES) score, pain score, and goniometric ROM, IMU-based average and maximum elevation were equal between control subjects and patients both pre- and post-rTSA. The percent of time spent above 90° was equal between cohorts pre-rTSA, rose significantly at 3 months post-rTSA, and returned to preoperative levels thereafter.

Discussion: Although pain, satisfaction, and ROM measured clinically may improve following rTSA, real-world utilization of improved ROM was not seen herein. Improvements during the acute rehabilitation phase may be transient, indicating longer or more specific rehabilitation protocols are necessary to see chronic improvements in post-rTSA movement patterns.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Seminars in Arthoplasty: JSES