Lesions of the superior portion of the glenoid labrum were created in seven cadaveric shoulders. The shoulders were mounted on a special apparatus attached to a servocontrolled hydraulic materials-testing device. Sequential fifty-newton anterior, posterior, superior, and inferior forces and a twenty-two-newton joint compressive load were applied to the shoulders. In addition, a fifty-five-newton force was applied to the tendon of the long head of the biceps brachii. The shoulders were tested in seven positions of glenohumeral elevation and rotation. An isolated lesion of the anterosuperior portion of the labrum, which did not involve the supraglenoid insertion of the biceps brachii, had no significant effect on anteroposterior or superoinferior glenohumeral translation, either with or without application of the fifty-five-newton force to the biceps brachii tendon. In contrast, a complete lesion of the superior portion of the labrum that destabilized the insertion of the biceps resulted in significant increases in anteroposterior and superoinferior glenohumeral translations. At 45 degrees of glenohumeral elevation, the complete lesion led to a 6.0-millimeter increase in anterior translation when the arm was in neutral rotation and to a 6.3-millimeter increase when the arm was in internal rotation; inferior translation also increased, by 1.9 to 2.5 millimeters. The increases in translation persisted despite application of a fifty-five-newton force to the long head of the biceps.
Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City, USA.