Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 76–81 | Cite as

Biomechanics of the deltoideus

  • F. BilluartEmail author
  • O. Gagey
  • W. Skalli
  • D. Mitton
Original Article


The objective of this study was to determine the direction of the migration engendered by the middle deltoideus on the upper end of the humerus. Eleven patients suffering from shoulder pathology underwent an MRI examination (3 mm thick slices). From these MRI slices, 3D reconstructions were obtained for each patient by using a manual data capture system (SliceOmatic®). From this geometry, a mechanical model of the deltoideus was produced, taking into account the contacts between the latter and the following anatomical parts: supraspinatus, infraspinatus and humeral head. For the 11 shoulders, we have obtained a deltoideus showing a global resultant oriented upwards. There was, however, a component oriented downwards (at the level of the humeral head), its intensity being 40–80% less than the component oriented upwards (at the level of the deltoideus V). It is important to note that this study is valid only in the initial degrees of lateral elevation. The deltoideus is an elevator muscle of the humeral head in the glenoid, presenting nevertheless a component oriented downwards. The deltoideus would, therefore, intervene to recenter the shoulder during an abduction movement.


Biomechanic Shoulder Deltoideus Morphology Magnetic resonance imaging 



We greatly appreciate the support of D. Jauffret and S. Chanson, student engineers at ENSAM, Paris (France), for their participation in the development of the mechanical model.


  1. 1.
    Browning DG, Desai MM (2004) Rotator cuff injuries and treatment. Prim Care 31(4):807–829Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Castaing J, Burdin Ph (1979) Anatomie fonctionnelle de l’appareil locomoteur: Le complexe de l’épaule fascicule 1. Editions Vigot, Paris, pp 22–26Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    De Palma AF, Callery G, Bennett GA (1949) Shoulder joint: variational anatomy an degenerative lesions of the shoulder joint. In: Blount WP, Banks SW (eds) Américan Academy of Orthopédic Surgery instructional courses lectures, vol 6. JW Edwards, Ann Arbor, pp 255–281Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Duchenne de Boulogne GB (1867) Physiologie des mouvements. JB Baillière et Fils, Paris, pp 53–72Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ferrari F, Governi S, Burresi F, Vigni F, Stefani P (2001) Supraspinatus tendon tears: comparison of US and MR arthrography with surgical correlation. Eur Radiol 12:1211–1217Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gagey O, Hue E (2000) Mechanics of the deltoideus: a new approach. Clin Orthop 375:250–257Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Inman VT, Saunders M, Abbot LC (1944) Observations on the function of the shoulder joint. J Bone Joint Surg 26A:1–30Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Inui H, Sugamoto K, Miyamoto T, Machida A, Hashimoto J, Nobuhara K (2001) Evaluation of three-dimensional glénoid structure using MRI. J Anat 199:323–328Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kapandji IA (1987) Physiologie Articulaire, vol 1. Maloine SA, Paris, pp 44–72Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Revel M, Armor P, Copail R, Anctil R (1984) Etude électrokinésiologique du sous scapulaire, du grand pectoral et du grand dorsal au cours de l’abduction. In: Simon L, Rodineau J (eds) Epaule et médecine de rééducation. Masson, Paris, pp 333–338Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sarrafian SK (1983) Gross and functional anatomy of the shoulder. Clin Orthop Relat Res 173:11–19Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Togami I, Sasai N, Tsunoda M, Sei T, Yabuki T, Kitagawa T, Mitani M, Akaki S, Kuroda M, Hiraki Y (2001) Kinematic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the normal shoulder: assessment of the shapes and signals of the supérior and inférior labra with abductive movement using an open-type imager. Acta Med Okayama 55(4):237–243Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de biomécaniqueÉcole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers (ENSAM)ParisFrance
  2. 2.CHU de BicêtreLe Kremlin-BicêtreFrance
  3. 3.Institut d’Anatomie de Paris Université Paris 5 ParisFrance
  4. 4.Groupe Hospitalier «les Cheminots»DraveilFrance

Personalised recommendations