Total vs Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty: Which Allows for Better Return to Sports and Work?

When the reverse total shoulder arthroplasty was introduced in the United States in 2004, it caused a spike in shoulder arthroplasties. 10,000 RTSA’s were performed in 2007 which was five times as many as were performed in 2004.  As of 2011, RTSA’s accounted for 42% of all shoulder arthroplasties. The indications for both RTSA and total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA) are different, but if given the option, which would enhance your ability to return to sport or work?

71 RTSA and 115 TSA recipients were asked how able they were to participate in sports following the procedure. Swimming and golf were among the most common sports that were reported. TSA patients had a 27% easier time participating in shoulder dominant sports over RTSA patients. The survey also found that RTSA recipients reported a higher inability to perform shoulder specific sports (20%) over TSA patients (4%).  Does this trend hold true for work as well?

When asked about work, housework and gardening were the most common types. Taking that into consideration, 21% of TSA patients reported an easier time with those activities. Gardening was a 65% difference in score and housework came in at 34% difference. The scores for work and sport were relatively consistent between the two groups. Overall, recipients of a TSA have more ability to work and partake in sports following their procedure. With proper rehabilitation though, it is very possible for everyone to return to the activities they enjoy participating in.


Familiari, F., Rojas, J., Nedim Doral, M., Huri, G., & McFarland, E. G. (2018). Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty. EFORT Open Reviews, 3(2), 58–69.

Jennifer Kurowicki, MD Samuel Rosas, MD Tsun Yee Law, MD Jonathan C. Levy, MD . Participation in Work and Sport Following Reverse and Total Shoulder Arthroplasty. Am J Orthop.

May 23, 2018