Subscapularis function after total shoulder replacement: Results with lesser tuberosity osteotomy

Sheeraz Qureshi, Andrew Hsiao, Raymond A. Klug, Ed Lee, Jonathan Braman, Evan L. Flatow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Until recently, little consideration was placed on the integrity of the subscapularis tendon after total shoulder arthroplasty. We have noted that several of our patients exhibited loss of internal rotation strength and subscapularis function after total shoulder arthroplasty utilizing an anatomic soft tissue repair of the subscapularis, both with and without bone tunnels. On the basis of those results, we began removing the subscapularis with a small piece of bone by a lesser tuberosity osteotomy in an attempt to achieve improved subscapularis function through bony healing at the repair site. A retrospective review of 28 patients (30 shoulders) was done of patients who had total shoulder arthroplasty performed between 2001 and 2003. The lesser tuberosity and attached subscapularis were repaired through bone tunnels in all cases. The mean follow-up was 1.1 years. Terminal internal rotation was evaluated by the belly-press examination. Subscapularis function was assessed by the patient's ability to tuck in a shirt behind the back, and 25 of 30 patients (83.3%) reported no difficulty. Belly-press examination results were normal in 18 of 30 patients (60%). Removal of the subscapularis through a lesser tuberosity osteotomy results in reliable restoration of internal rotation strength after total shoulder arthroplasty, as measured by the ability to perform a stomach press and to tuck in a shirt. In comparing these results with our earlier cohort of patients with similar demographics and postoperative rehabilitation that had soft tissue repair, improved results were seen in the group that underwent lesser tuberosity osteotomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-72
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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