Article Abstract

Balloon arthroplasty: indications, technique, and European outcomes

Authors: John G. Horneff III, Joseph A. Abboud


The treatment of massive irreparable rotator cuff tears remains difficult. Various techniques have been described to effectively treat this condition. The subacromial interpositional balloon spacer is one of the latest techniques designed to address this challenging problem. The device works by helping to reverse proximal humeral migration and providing a counterbalance to an unopposed superiorly directed force vector of the deltoid muscle. Released in 2010, it has seen early success in Europe with published literature demonstrating good outcomes, cost-effectiveness, low complications, and ease of use. In addition, the surgery does not prevent patients from any future surgeries should the condition of the shoulder worsen over time. This allows the subacromial spacer to give patients satisfactory outcomes even if only to serve as a bridge to an eventual reverse shoulder arthroplasty. The device is being evaluated for use in the United States in an ongoing FDA trial.