Biomechanical evaluation of the origin of the long head of the biceps tendon

Jack H. Healey, Shane Barton, Phillip Noble, Harold W. Kohl, Omer A. Ilahi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Purpose: Lesions of the superior glenoid labrum extending anterior and posterior (SLAP) have recently been recognized as important sources of shoulder pain and dysfunction. Among the 4 described types of SLAP lesions, the type II SLAP involves detachment of the superior labrum from the bony glenoid and destabilization of the origin of the long head of the biceps tendon (LHBT). The purpose of this cadaveric biomechanical study was to evaluate the relative contribution regarding linear stiffness and displacement under load of the 2 origins of the LHBT: the superior glenoid labrum and the supraglenoid tubercle (the biceps anchor). Type of Study: Cadaveric biomechanical study. Methods: Seven pairs of fresh-frozen cadaveric shoulders were dissected free of all soft tissue except for the glenoid labrum and LHBT. Tension from 0 to 55 N was applied to the LHBT while keeping the tendon perpendicular to the face of the glenoid. Each specimen was tested for linear stiffness and biceps tendon displacement in the intact state, after releasing 1 of the LHBT origins, and after releasing the remaining origin. Results: The average stiffness of the LHBT origin was 103 N/mm. Sectioning the anchor alone resulted in a 52% reduction in linear stiffness, whereas only detaching the superior glenoid labrum from the 10 o'clock to the 2 o'clock position resulted in a 15% reduction in linear stiffness. Maximum displacement of the biceps tendon origin in the intact state at the 55 N load averaged 0.99 mm. With a minimum load applied, displacement changed less than 1 mm unless both origins were released. Conclusions: The results indicate that the biceps anchor is the primary restraint of the LHBT and that the superior labrum is a secondary restraint in regard to linear stiffness. However, disruption of both restraints is required to produce the laxity typically seen in a type II SLAP lesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-382
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Biceps
  • Biomechanics
  • Labrum
  • Origin
  • SLAP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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