Tensile properties of a morphologically split supraspinatus tendon

Tomoya Matsuhashi, Alexander W. Hooke, Kristin D. Zhao, Akira Goto, John W. Sperling, Scott P. Steinmann, Kai Nan An

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The supraspinatus tendon consists morphologically of two sub-regions, anterior and posterior. The anterior sub-region is thick and tubular while the posterior is thin and strap-like. The purpose of this study was to compare the structural and mechanical properties of the anterior and posterior sub-regions of the supraspinatus tendon. The supraspinatus tendons from seven human cadaveric shoulders were morphologically divided into the anterior and posterior sub-regions. Length, width, and thickness were measured. A servo-hydraulic testing machine (MTS Systems Corporation, Minneapolis, MN) was used for tensile testing. The maximal load at failure, modulus of elasticity and ultimate tendon stress were calculated. Repeated measures were used for statistical comparisons. The mean anterior tendon cross-sectional area was 47.3 mm2 and the posterior was 32.1 mm2. Failure occurred most often at the insertion site: anterior (5/7) and posterior (6/7). All parameters of the anterior sub-region were significantly greater than those of the posterior sub-region. The moduli of elasticity at the insertion site were 592.4 MPa in the anterior sub-region and 217.7 MPa in the posterior (P = 0.01). The ultimate failure loads were 779.2 N in the anterior sub-region and 335.6 N in the posterior (P = 0.003). The ultimate stresses were 22.1 MPa in the anterior sub-region and 11.6 MPa in the posterior (P = 0.008). We recognized that the anterior and posterior sub-regions of the SSP tendon have significantly different mechanical properties. In a future study, we need to evaluate how best to repair an SSP tendon considering these region-specific properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-706
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • morphological split
  • shoulder
  • sub-region
  • supraspinatus tendon
  • tendon property

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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