Background. Morphologic changes in the long head of the biceps tendon have been described in association with rotator cuff disease, yet mechanical significance of these changes remains unclear. Methods. An experiment was designed to test the hypotheses that the cross-sectional area and material properties of the long head of the biceps tendon are different in shoulders with full thickness rotator cuff tears and shoulders with intact rotator cuff tendons. Seven pairs of cadaver shoulders were tested. In each pair one shoulder had a full thickness rotator cuff tear and the other did not. Thus, a matched design was used. Cross sectional areas were measured. Tendon material properties were measured using an optical strain system. Findings. We were unable to detect a statistically significant difference in the long head of the biceps area or material properties between tendons in shoulders with and without rotator cuff tears. An a priori power analysis was conducted indicating the sample size was sufficient to detect a difference of 70 MPa in the elastic modulus measurement. Interpretation. Our data indicate there is no difference in the long head of the biceps cross sectional area or material properties. Therefore, the long head of the biceps tendon appears to retain its material properties in the presence of a rotator cuff tear. The clinical significance of this finding is that the long head of the biceps can be retained in the presence of a rotator cuff tear without concern that mechanical properties have substantially deteriorated.
|State||Published - 2005|