Biomechanics of subscapularis V-shaped tenotomy compared to standard tenotomy

Brett D. Haislup, Sierra Lindsey, Rae Tarapore, Pooyan Abbasi, Melissa A. Wright, Anand M. Murthi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Subscapularis function is critical after anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty (aTSA). Recently, however, a technique has been described that features a chevron or V-shaped subscapularis tendon cut (VT). This biomechanical study compared repair of the standard tenotomy (ST), made perpendicular to the subscapularis fibers, to repair of the novel VT using cyclic displacement, creep, construct stiffness, and load to failure. Methods: This biomechanical study used 6 pairs of fresh frozen paired cadaveric shoulder specimens. One specimen per each pair underwent VT, the other ST. Subscapularis tenotomy was performed 1 cm from the insertion onto the lesser tuberosity. For VT, the apex of the V was 3 cm from the lesser tuberosity. After tenotomy, each humerus underwent humeral head arthroplasty. Eight figure-of-8 sutures were used to repair the tenotomy (Ethibond Excel; Ethicon, US LLC). Specimens were cyclically loaded from 2 to 100 N at 45 degrees abduction at a rate of 1 Hz for 3000 cycles. Cyclic displacement, creep, and stiffness and load to failure were measured. Results: Cyclic displacement did not differ significantly between the ST and VT from 1 to 3000 cycles. The difference in displacement between the V-shaped and standard tenotomy at 3000 cycles was 1.57 mm (3.66 ± 1.55 mm vs. 5.1 ± 2.8 mm, P = .31, respectively). At no point was the V-shape tenotomy (VT) >3 mm of average displacement, whereas the standard tenotomy (ST) averaged 3 mm of displacement after 3 cycles. Creep was significantly lower for VT in cycles 1 through 3. For all cycles, stiffness was not significantly different in the VT group compared with the ST group. Load to failure was not statistically significant in the VT compared to the standard tenotomy throughout all cycles (253.2 ± 27.7 N vs. 213.3 ± 76.04 N; P = .25, respectively). The range of load to failure varied from 100 to 301 N for standard tenotomy compared with 216 to 308 N for VT. Conclusion: This study showed that VT and ST demonstrated equivalent stiffness, displacement, and load to failure. VT had the benefit of less creep throughout the first 3 cycles, although there was no difference from cycle 4 to 3000. The VT had equivalent biomechanical properties to the ST at time zero, an important first step in our understanding of the technique. The VT technique warrants further clinical study to determine if the technique has clinical benefits over ST following aTSA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-609
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • Anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty
  • Basic Science Study
  • Biomechanics
  • biomechanics
  • deltopectoral approach
  • subscapularis management
  • subscapularis tenotomy


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