The study of orthopedics often leads to breakthroughs that significantly advance patient care, specifically in fields like shoulder arthroplasty, which is continuously evolving. In recent developments, a study published in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery has spotlighted the use of humeral matchstick autografts in augmenting cementless reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA), with early radiographic outcomes showing encouraging results. Authored by Montemaggi Paolo and colleagues, the study is gaining attention for its innovative approach to address the complication rates of humeral-sided issues in RTSA procedures.

Innovative Cementless RTSA Technique Shows Promising Outcomes

Shoulder arthroplasty is essential for restoring shoulder function in patients with severe arthritis or complex fractures. However, one persistent challenge in the field has been the risk of complications involving the humeral side of the implant. With humeral-sided complications accounting for a significant percentage of RTSA revision surgeries, the quest for improved surgical techniques and implant designs is ongoing.

The study, conducted from January to July 2020, involved 46 nonconsecutive patients who underwent primary RTSA using a short-stem cementless prosthesis (Stryker Ascend Flex) augmented by matchstick bone grafting. Notably, this technique involved the use of autologous bone grafts fashioned into ‘matchstick’ shapes to fill gaps and provide stability around the prosthesis, potentially addressing issues of humeral bone loss and implant loosening. The patient cohort included 5 men and 41 women with an average age of 71 years.


1. Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty
2. Cementless Shoulder Implant
3. Humeral Matchstick Autograft
4. Shoulder Prosthesis Stability
5. Bone Graft Augmentation in Orthopedics

Detailed Study Insights and Patient Follow-Up

Researchers meticulously recorded patient demographics and assessed metaphyseal fill ratios and the incidence of stress shielding at a follow-up of no less than a year. The study measured the differences between templated stem sizes and implant sizes used during surgery and tracked any complications occurring intraoperatively and postoperatively.

What emerged from the analysis was compelling: the mean templated stem size was found to be a size 4, with the final implant coming down to a mean size of 2—indicating a possible trend toward smaller, better-fitting implants. With no intraoperative humeral fractures reported during implantation, the surgical approach’s safety profile was enhanced. Over an average follow-up of 19 months, radiographic follow-ups confirmed the absence of early humeral loosening, a significant outcome given the potential for such issues to necessitate revision surgeries.

Three cases (7%) of proximal humeral stress shielding were detected; these showed higher average fill ratios, which could indicate a potential predictive factor for the occurrence of stress shielding. Revision surgeries were performed on three patients (7%) related to baseplate failure and periprosthetic humeral fracture.

Implications for Future Surgical Practices

The use of matchstick autografts in humeral augmentation presents as a straightforward yet promising technique with a low rate of intraoperative complications and favorable short-term radiographic outcomes. The study emphasizes that by successfully reducing the implant fill ratio, the risk of humeral stress shielding might be diminished.

The authors are assertive that this approach could enhance implant stability in cementless shoulder arthroplasty and conserve humeral bone stock, which can be crucial for possible future revision surgeries. This study contributes to evidence indicating that the integration of autografts into RTSA might be a step forward in bolstering implant longevity and reducing subsequent operations.

Accessibility and Publication Details

The article, “Cementless Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty Implantation With Humeral Matchstick Autograft Augmentation: Early Radiographic Outcomes,” is accessible through its DOI: 10.1016/j.jse.2023.11.021. It is published in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, with the electronic address for correspondence being: The study is based on research conducted by a commendable team from institutions such as the University of Pisa in Italy and the Baylor Scott & White Research Institute in Dallas, Texas, USA.


1. Montemaggi, P., Lo, E. Y., Ouseph, A., Lund, J., & Krishnan, S. G. (2024). Cementless Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty Implantation With Humeral Matchstick Autograft Augmentation: Early Radiographic Outcomes. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery.

2. Cuff, D., & Pupello, D. (2013). Prospective Analysis of Total Shoulder Arthroplasty Complications. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 22(6), 764-770.

3. Frankle, M., Siegal, S., Pupello, D., Saleem, A., & Mighell, M. (2005). The Reverse Shoulder Prosthesis for Glenohumeral Arthritis Associated with Severe Rotator Cuff Deficiency. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 87(9), 1697-1705.

4. Gerber, C., Pennington, S. D., & Nyffeler, R. W. (2009). Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 17(5), 284-295.

5. Gulotta, L. V., & Choi, D. (2014). Management of Humeral and Glenoid Bone Loss in Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty. Bulletin of the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, 72(1), 84-90. PMID: 24660187

In Closing

The reported technique brings forth an element of customization and optimization in the RTSA procedure that could potentially steer the course of future surgical endeavors. It highlights the importance of innovation and critical analysis in surgical approaches and device design within the sphere of orthopedic surgery. As the medical community continues to refine and adapt, patients stand to benefit from specialized care designed to enhance recovery and longevity of results, making robust contributions like this study invaluable.