This study states that Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (rTSA) is an effective treatment for patients with advanced rotator cuff arthropathy. During implantation of the glenoid baseplate, screws are inserted through the glenoid face into the scapular body to achieve adequate fixation. Placement of peripheral baseplate screws in the superior and posterior glenoid may increase the risk of injury to the suprascapular nerve (SSN). The purpose of this cadaveric study was to evaluate the risk of SSN injury with placement of baseplate screws in the superior and posterior direction.

Twelve cadaveric shoulders were implanted with glenoid baseplates. A bicortical 44-mm screw was placed in both the superior and posterior glenoid baseplate screw holes. Following implantation, the SSN was dissected and visualized through a posterior shoulder approach. The distance from the tip of the screws to the SSN and the distance from the screw’s scapular exiting hole to the SSN was recorded. Average distances were calculated for each measurement. The superior screw contacted the SSN in 8 of the 12 specimens (66%). For the superior screw, the average distance from the exiting point in the scapula to the SSN.

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