Triceps tendon properties and its potential as an autograft

Joshua A. Baumfeld, Roger P. van Riet, Mark E. Zobitz, Denise Eygendaal, Kai Nan An, Scott P. Steinmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Although the triceps tendon has been used as a graft for ligament reconstruction about the elbow, and has been postulated to be useful as a graft in the treatment of massive rotator cuff tears, no data exists on the tensile properties of the triceps tendon. The purpose of this study was to define the tensile properties of the medial, lateral, and central thirds of the triceps tendon, in order to examine its potential as an autograft for upper extremity pathology. Materials and methods: Ten fresh frozen upper extremity specimens were used. The triceps tendon was dissected from its musculotendinous junction and left attached to its insertion at the olecranon. The tendon was split into thirds and its tensile properties were recorded using a materials testing machine. Results: The lateral portion was significantly thinner and less stiff than the medial and central portions (P < .05). It failed at significantly lower ultimate load than the central portion (P < .05). There were no significant differences between the medial, central, and lateral portions of the triceps tendons with regards to ultimate stress (P = .20) or modulus of elasticity (P = .64). Conclusion: Data from the current study were compared to available literature regarding tensile properties of the rotator cuff and elbow ligaments. Both the medial and central portions of the triceps tendon offer sufficient strength to be used in the reconstruction of the rotator cuff or ligament reconstruction in the elbow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-699
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Elbow
  • autograft
  • rotator cuff
  • shoulder
  • tendon
  • triceps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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