Three-dimensional analysis of the shoulder motion in patients with massive irreparable cuff tears after latissimus dorsi tendon transfer (LDT)

Giorgio Ippolito, Mariano Serrao, Francesco Napoli, Conte Carmela, Massimo Miscusi, Gianluca Coppola, Francesco Pierelli, Giuseppe Costanzo, Vincenzo de Cupis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Latissimus dorsi tendon transfer (LDT) is a recent method for surgical treatment of massive, irreparable posterosuperior cuff tears (MIPCT). So far, there are no studies on the quantitative motion analysis of the shoulder and latissimus dorsi (LD) muscle activation after LDT. The changes in shoulder movements after LDT can be objectively assessed by the 3-D motion analysis. These changes may not be due to an increased activity of the LD muscle as external rotator. Materials and methods: The shoulder kinematics of nine patients with MIPCT were recorded through a 3-D motion analysis system, before LTD (T0), and after 3 (T1) and 6 (T2) months post-LDT. Maximal shoulder flexion–extension, abduction–adduction, and horizontal abduction–adduction, and the internal and external circumduction of the shoulder joint were measured during upright standing posture. Surface EMG activity of the LD muscle was recorded during both internal rotation (IR) and external rotation (ER) tasks in three different postures. Results: A significant increase of shoulder movements was observed at T2 compared with T0 for almost all motor tasks. A significant effect of LDT was also found on LD-IR/ER ratio in posture 1 at T2 compared with T0 and T1. No significant effects were found for the LD-IR/ER ratio in the other postures. Conclusions: Our study indicates that LDT is effective in shoulder motion recovery. Such improvement is not associated with a change in function of the LD muscle, which may be induced by a depression of the humeral head into the glenoid cavity instead.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalArchiv fur orthopadische und Unfall-Chirurgie
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Aug 6 2016


  • 3-D motion analysis
  • Latissimus dorsi tendon transfer
  • Massive irreparable posterosuperior cuff tears
  • Shoulder kinematics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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