Management of Isolated Greater Tuberosity Fractures: A Systematic Review

David M. Levy, Brandon J. Erickson, Joshua D. Harris, Bernard R. Bach, Nikhil N. Verma, Anthony A. Romeo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


As isolated fractures of the greater tuberosity present a therapeutic challenge, we systematically reviewed all studies of greater tuberosity fracture management. Inclusion criteria were level I to IV evidence and 2-year follow-up. Thirteen studies and 429 shoulders were included in our analyses, which compared 3 paired groups: treatment type (nonoperative vs operative), fracture displacement amount (<5 mm vs >5 mm), and surgery type (open vs arthroscopic). Concomitant anterior glenohumeral instability was documented in 28.1% of patients and was significantly more common in displaced vs nondisplaced fractures (44.3% vs 14.5%; P < .01). Compared with nonoperative patients, operative patients had significantly fewer radiographic losses of reduction (48.6% vs 5.2%; P < .01) but increased shoulder stiffness (0.0% vs 5.7%; P < .01). Heterotopic ossification was more common in displaced vs nondisplaced fractures (7.5% vs 0.0%; P < .01). There were no significant differences in outcome between arthroscopic and open surgery, but with screw fixation (vs suture constructs) there were significantly fewer cases of stiffness (0% vs 12.0%; P < .01) and reoperation (0% vs 8.0%; P = .051). Surgery for displaced fractures is associated with high patient satisfaction and low rates of complications and reoperations, regardless of technique and fixation mode.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E445-E453
JournalAmerican journal of orthopedics (Belle Mead, N.J.)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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