Functional study of glenohumeral ligaments

Lamberto Felli, Luca Biglieni, Michele Fiore, Matteo Coviello, Roberto Borri, Maurizio Cutulo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The glenohumeral ligaments are passive stabilising anatomical structures of the shoulder which, in synergy with the other active and passive stabilising structures, enable joint movement and cohesion. The purpose of this study is to analyse the isolated and synergic function of the glenohumeral ligaments by using a tetrapolar detection system with computer analysis. Methods: In a study performed on cadavers after anatomical dissection, detector electrodes were positioned on the individual ligaments and recordings were made of bioelectric impedance and, consequently, the resistance, which is an indicator of the state of tension or relaxation of the ligamentous complex. Predefined positions of the upper limb were adopted - neutral adduction, adduction with external rotation, abduction at 45° with neutral and external rotation, and abduction at 90° with neutral and external rotation. Results: The superior glenohumeral ligament is important in stabilisation of the glenohumeral joint in adduction and external rotation. The middle glenohumeral ligament is an important stabilising structure in the positions of adduction and external rotation and abduction up to 45° in external rotation. The resistance, and therefore tension, of the inferior glenohumeral ligament, which is negligible in positions of neutral adduction and adduction in external rotation, increases in value for angles between 45° and 90°, indicating the important stabilising function of this ligament in those positions. Conclusion: Our experimental study on cadavers, which involved evaluating the resistance of the glenohumeral ligaments by means of tetrapolar detection and computer analysis of the results, contributes to our knowledge of the functional activity of the anterior portion of the joint capsule.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-637
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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