, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 699-704
Date: 27 Jul 2013

Biomechanical strain characteristics of soft tissue biceps tenodesis and bony tenodesis

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Biomechanical analysis of biceps tenodesis procedures has historically focused on load to failure models. Minimal data exists for the analysis of biomechanical strain properties of the biceps tendon in a sub-failure, physiologic cadaver model.


Tendon strain characteristics are different between bony and soft tissue tenodesis surgery, and the soft tissue tenodesis procedure reproduces a strain pattern more similar to the native biceps tendon.


Eight fresh frozen cadaver upper extremities were mounted onto a custom device that controls shoulder abduction and rotation. Strain on the tendon was measured using a differential variable reluctance transducer as the arm was moved through cycles of abduction and external rotation. Each arm was mounted once, and all 3 testing procedures were performed on each of the 8 specimens. Statistical analysis was completed using ANOVA, followed by multiple comparisons with Bonferroni correction.


The bony tenodesis model placed higher strain on the biceps tendon than the soft tissue tenodesis (p = 0.025). Also, the bony tenodesis model increased the strain on the biceps tendon when compared to the native tendon (p = 0.031). In contrast, the soft tissue tenodesis did not significantly alter strain when compared to the native tendon (p = 0.089).


The soft tissue tenodesis procedure better maintained the native strain environment when compared to the bony tenodesis using an interference screw. Due to this closer approximation of native biceps tendon biomechanics, the soft tissue procedure may be more preferable clinically than the bony tenodesis.

Level of Evidence: 1, Controlled Laboratory Study.