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BackgroundShoulder arthroplasty incidence is projected to continue its exponential growth and the resultant burden of monitoring patients with shoulder arthroplasty implants creates significant pressure on orthopaedic services. Surveillance offers the opportunity to study implant longevity, detect failing implants and potentially perform revision at lower morbidity and cost. There is a paucity of evidence to support recommendations on long-term follow-up in shoulder arthroplasty. Prospective studies comparing long-term follow-up and structure are impractical from time, resource and cost perspectives. A real-time Delphi technique represents a mechanism by which experts involved in long-term follow-up of primary shoulder arthroplasty can formulate recommendations via a transparent, reproducible and efficient process. We outline the protocol for a real-time Delphi study seeking consensus on long-term follow-up and surveillance of primary shoulder arthroplasty .MethodsA real-time Delphi technique will be used. A planning committee will design the Delphi statements. A steering committee will supervise and monitor the real-time Delphi process. Participants will be asked to rate their agreement with statements using a 5-point Likert scale. The Delphi statements will be derived from review of published literature, and the strength of evidence available for each statement will be provided. We will offer participation to all surgeons and extended-scope practitioners who are current members of the British Elbow & Shoulder Society (BESS) and have clinical practice involving shoulder arthroplasty follow-up. The questionnaire will be active for 4 weeks and requires a minimum of 20 participants. Consensus agreement is defined as 70% of participants selecting at least a 4-point on a 5-point Likert scale.DiscussionWe anticipate the outlined study will achieve consensus on long-term follow-up and surveillance of primary shoulder arthroplasty. We intend to use the expert consensus recommendations achieved, in addition to the limited applicable published evidence available, to produce BESS-affiliated guidelines on long-term follow-up and surveillance of primary shoulder arthroplasty.EthicsEthical approval is not required for the real-time Delphi study.We expect the results of this initiative will be published in a peer-reviewed, high-impact journal.

Original publication




Journal article


Bmj open



Publication Date





e081703 - e081703