Introduction: The reasons for referral and travel patterns are lacking for patients undergoing reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA). The purpose of this study was to compare comorbidities, surgical time, cost and complications between local and distant primary RSA patients. Methods: Between 2007 and 2015, 1,666 primary RSAs were performed at our institution. Patients were divided into two cohorts, local patients (from within Olmstead county and surrounding counties, 492 RSAs) and those from a distance (1,174 RSAs). Results: Local patients were older (74 vs 71 years, p <.001), more likely to have RSA for fracture, had a higher Charlson comorbidity score (3.8 vs 3.2, p <.001) and longer hospital stays (2.0 vs 1.8 days, p < 0.001) compared to referred patients. Referral patients required longer operative times (95 vs 88 min, p =.002), had higher hospitalization costs ($19,101 vs $18,735, p <.001), and had a higher rate of prior surgery (32% vs 24%, p <.001). There were no differences between cohorts regarding complications or need for reoperation. Conclusions: Patients traveling from a distance to undergo primary RSA had longer operative times and were more likely to have had prior surgery than local patients. This may demonstrate the referral bias seen at large academic centers and should be considered when reviewing RSA outcomes, hospital performance, and calculating insurance reimbursement. Level of evidence: Level IV.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine