DJO® announces release of AltiVate Reverse® Short Stem, the first fully convertible, inlay, short stem shoulder replacement system in the United States

July 16, 2019

Its bone-sparing short-stem and innovative 135° neck-shaft angle sits entirely within the humerus, allowing for easy conversion from anatomic to reverse shoulder arthroplasty

First surgeries using AltiVate Reverse® Short Stem conducted by Dr. Gerald Williams and Dr. Patrick St. Pierre

AUSTIN, TX, JULY 16, 2019 – DJO®, a leading provider of medical technologies designed to get and keep people moving, introduced today the AltiVate Reverse® Short Stem, the first fully-convertible, inlay, short stem shoulder arthroplasty system available in the United States. The AltiVate Reverse® Short Stem was designed by DJO, a market leader in shoulder arthroplasty systems, using principles based on a design with minimum 10-years of clinical follow-up1. The AltiVate Reverse Short Stem received FDA 510(k) clearance in April 2019 for use in anatomic, reverse, and partial shoulder arthroplasty.

“The AltiVate Reverse Short Stem is truly the first-of-its-kind technology: a short, convertible stem based on the philosophy of an inlay humeral stem,” said Jeff McCaulley, Global President of DJO Surgical®. “With the first inlay short stem addition to our market-leading AltiVate Reverse, we are continuing DJO’s history of innovation by developing products that are different by design – which allows us to continue our long history of leading innovation and creating the future of shoulder arthroplasty.”

More than 50,000 people in the U.S. have shoulder replacement surgery each year, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality2. In a reverse shoulder replacement, the ball and socket of the shoulder joint switch sides, “reversing” their natural position. The procedure, originally developed in the 1980s in Europe and approved by the FDA in 2003, is more beneficial to patients with certain conditions, including those with large rotator cuff tears who have developed a complex type of shoulder arthritis called cuff tear arthropathy3.

Reverse shoulder arthroplasty now represents more than 40 percent of shoulder replacement surgeries in the United States4, significantly increasing the value of a fully convertible system. Most companies offer fully convertible systems, however many designs are based on “onlay” humeral stems, where a portion of the stem sits on top of the humerus. The AltiVate Reverse Short Stem is an “inlay” stem, meaning it sits entirely within the humerus. Based on a recent study5, an onlay humeral stem had a 4.3% incidence rate of scapular spine fractures, which was 4x higher than the rate reported in a similar study with an inlay humeral stem.

The AltiVate Reverse® Short Stem is designed for easy conversion from anatomic to reverse without overstuffing the joint, while its 135° neck-shaft angle allows for a more anatomic humeral reconstruction in both anatomic and reverse shoulder arthroplasty. The short stem is also more bone-sparing than a standard-length stem, allowing for implant positioning independent of the humeral canal.

The first surgeries using AltiVate Reverse Short Stem were conducted this July by Dr. Patrick St. Pierre of the Desert Orthopedic Center in Rancho Mirage, California, and Dr. Gerald Williams of The Rothman Institute in Philadelphia, PA. 

“The new AltiVate Reverse® Short Stem is a major innovation,” says Dr. Williams. “I now have one system with a variety of options to treat most, if not all, of my patients.  This stem is going to revolutionize the way orthopedic surgeons think about convertibility from anatomic to reverse shoulder arthroplasty, and it’s very exciting to be one of the first to use it clinically.”

The AltiVate Reverse Short Stem is an important addition to DJO’s industry leading AltiVate® family of products. For more information about AltiVate Reverse Short Stem, please visit


  1. Cuff, et al. “Reverse shoulder arthroplasty for the treatment of rotator cuff deficiency: a concise follow-up, at a minimum of 10 years, of previous reports.” Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 2017.
  2. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), OrthoInfo, Shoulder Joint Replacement
  3. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), OrthoInfo, Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement
  4. Monica. University Orthopaedic Associates, “Q&A with Dr. Monica: Reverse Shoulder Replacement
  5. Ascione, Francesco, et al. "Increased scapular spine fractures after reverse shoulder arthroplasty with a humeral onlay short stem: an analysis of 485 consecutive cases." Journal of shoulder and elbow surgery 27.12 (2018): 2183-2190.

Dr. Patrick St. Pierre is a consultant for DJO®.
Dr. Gerald Williams is a consultant for DJO®.

About DJO®

DJO® is a leading developer and distributor of high-quality medical devices that provide proven solutions for musculoskeletal health, joint reconstruction, vascular health, and pain management. The Company’s extensive range of products and integrated technologies address the orthopedic continuum of care from performance and mobility to surgical intervention and post-operative rehabilitation; enabling people around the world to regain or maintain their natural motion.  For additional information about DJO, please visit