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J Biomech. 2005 Jun;38(6):1365-9.

Bi-directional mechanical properties of the posterior region of the glenohumeral capsule.

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  • 1Musculoskeletal Research Center, Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


The objective of this study was to determine the mechanical properties of the posterior region of the glenohumeral capsule in the directions perpendicular (transverse) and parallel (longitudinal) to the longitudinal axis of the posterior band of the inferior glenohumeral ligament. A punch was used to excise one transverse and one longitudinal tissue sample from the posterior capsule of 11 cadaveric shoulders. All tissue samples exhibited the typical nonlinear behavior reported for ligaments and tendons. Significant differences (p < 0.05) were detected between the transverse and longitudinal tissue samples for ultimate stress (1.5+/-1.4 and 4.9+/-2.9 MPa, respectively) and tangent modulus (10.3+/-6.6 and 31.5+/-12.7 MPa, respectively). No significant differences (p > 0.05) were observed between the ultimate strain (transverse: 22.3+/-12.5%, longitudinal: 22.8+/-11.1%) and strain energy density (transverse: 27.2+/-52.8 MPa, longitudinal: 67.5+/-88.2 MPa) of the transverse and longitudinal tissue samples. The ratio of the longitudinal to transverse moduli (4.8+/-4.2) was similar to that found for the axillary pouch (3.3+/-2.8) in a previous study. Thus, both the axillary pouch and the posterior capsule function to stabilize the joint multi-axially. Future analytical models of the glenohumeral joint should consider the properties of the posterior capsule in its transverse and longitudinal directions to fully describe the behavior of the glenohumeral capsule. These models will be clinically important by providing a more accurate representation of the intact capsule as well as simulated capsular injuries and surgical repair procedures.

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