Clinical and Functional Outcomes of Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty Supplemented With Latissimus Dorsi Transfer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Jake X. Checketts, Oklahoma State University
Robert Steele, Kansas City University
Ashini Patel, Nova Southeastern University
Josh Stephens, Nova Southeastern University
Kate Buhrke, Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine
Arjun Reddy, Oklahoma State University
Landon Stallings, Oklahoma State University
Jacob J. Triplet, Mayo Clinic
Brian Chalkin, Oklahoma State University


Background: To optimize patients' functional external rotation outcomes, reverse total shoulder arthroplasties (rTSAs) including a latissimus dorsi tendon transfer were undertaken with promising early results and no significant increase in complications in comparison to traditional rTSAs. This was especially utilized for patients with a pronounced combined loss of elevation and external rotation. The purpose of this study is to evaluate and synthesize the findings of all relevant publications assessing the outcomes of rTSAs with associated latissimus dorsi transfer.

Methods: We thoroughly searched the literature within the PubMed database using a standardized methodology. For our inclusion criteria, we included any study regarding rTSAs that contained functional outcome scores for postoperative range of motion (such as elevation, external rotation, etc.) or postoperative outcomes such as complications (reoperation, infection, etc.) and patient satisfaction. For the extraction of data, we used pilot-tested Google Forms to record extracted data. These data were then converted to spreadsheets (Microsoft Excel [Microsoft, Redmond, WA, USA]). This was done on 2 separate scenarios by 2 authors to ensure accuracy. We used the modified Coleman Methodology Score to assess the methodological quality of the studies in our samples. Meta-analysis mathematics and statistical analysis were performed using Stata software 17 (StataCorp, College Station, TX, USA).

Results: Our search returned a total of 12 studies containing data of 213 shoulders receiving RTSAs with a latissimus dorsi transfer. Functional outcomes were available for 160 shoulders. The mean preoperative elevation of the affected shoulder was 73.57 degrees, and the mean postoperative elevation was 141.80 degrees. For external rotation, the mean preoperative average was −6.71 degrees, and the mean postoperative average was 22.73 degrees. The absolute Constant score average was 31.56 preoperatively, while the postoperative value was 68.93. In our sample, 25 patients (11.73%) required a revision of the RTSA implant due to complications.

Discussion: Combined loss of elevation and external rotation can be a severely debilitating condition for those with a glenohumeral pathology. Latissimus dorsi transfer for this condition has been proven to be an effective modality. The reoperation and complication rate appears to be sizable, and as such surgeons should consider this when considering this modality for their patients.