The Long Head of the Biceps Tendon Has Minimal Effect on In Vivo Glenohumeral Kinematics: A Biplane Fluoroscopy Study

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Abstract

Background:

The in vivo stabilizing role of the long head of the biceps tendon (LHB) is poorly understood. While cadaveric studies report that the loaded LHB constrains translations in all directions, clinical data suggest that there is no clinically demonstrable alteration in glenohumeral position after LHB tenodesis or tenotomy. The purpose of this study was to investigate potential alterations in glenohumeral kinematics after LHB tenodesis during 3 dynamic in vivo motions using a biplane fluoroscopy system.

Hypothesis:

Our hypothesis was that there would be no difference in glenohumeral translations greater than 1.0 mm between shoulders after biceps tenodesis and healthy contralateral shoulders.

Study Design:

Controlled laboratory study.

Methods:

Five patients who underwent unilateral, open subpectoral tenodesis performed abduction, a simulated late cocking phase of a throw, and simulated lifting with both their tenodesed shoulder and their contralateral healthy shoulder inside a biplane fluoroscopy system. Dynamic 3-dimensional glenohumeral positions and electromyography activity of the biceps brachii muscle were determined and compared.

Results:

Significant glenohumeral translations occurred in both shoulders for abduction (3.4 mm inferiorly; P < .01) and simulated late cocking (2.6 mm anteriorly; P < .01). The mean difference for each motion in glenohumeral position between the tenodesed and the contralateral healthy shoulders was always less than 1.0 mm. The tenodesed shoulders were more anterior (centered) during abduction (0.7 mm; P < .01) and for the eccentric phase of the simulated late cocking motion (0.9 mm; P < .02). No significant differences were found during the simulated lifting motion and in the superior-inferior direction.

Conclusion:

The effect of biceps tenodesis on glenohumeral position during the motions studied in vivo was minimal compared with physiological translations and interpatient variability.

Clinical Relevance:

Our findings demonstrated that LHB tenodesis does not dramatically alter glenohumeral position during dynamic motions, suggesting the risk for clinically significant alterations in glenohumeral kinematics after tenodesis is low in otherwise intact shoulders.

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