Anatomic landmarks for arthroscopic suprapectoral biceps tenodesis: a cadaveric study

Andrew S. Neviaser, Diana C. Patterson, Paul J. Cagle, Bradford O. Parsons, Evan L. Flatow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Biceps tenodesis reduces the incidence of Popeye deformity occurring with tenotomy, but pain may occur with tenodesis superior to or within the bicipital groove. Arthroscopic suprapectoral tenodesis is an attractive alternative. The purpose of this study was to establish landmarks for arthroscopic suprapectoral tenodesis and determine the appropriate fixation point to optimize muscle tension. Methods: Twelve fresh cadaveric shoulders were dissected. Urethane polymer was injected into the axillary artery. The position of the anterior branch of the axillary nerve was marked. The transverse humeral ligament was split, exposing the biceps (long head of the biceps [LHB]) from its origin to the pectoralis major tendon (PMT). The intra-articular portion was released. Measurements were taken from the proximal tendon to described landmarks. Results: The mean length of the intra-articular LHB was 2.53 cm (range, 1.72-3.55 cm). The mean distance from the LHB origin to the inferior lesser tuberosity (LT) was 5.58 cm (range, 4.02-6.87 cm), and that to the superior border of the PMT was 8.46 cm (range, 6.46-10.78 cm). The suprapectoral tenodesis zone (inferior LT to superior PMT) was 2.96 cm (range, 1.54-4.40 cm). In all specimens, a branch of the anterior humeral circumflex arose medial to the LHB and distal to the LT and crossed the suprapectoral zone from medial to lateral at 1.49 ± 0.42 cm proximal to the PMT, approximately at the level of the axillary nerve. The musculocutaneous nerve was on average 3.06 cm (range, 1.86-3.76 cm) from the tenodesis zone. Conclusion: A branch of the anterior humeral circumflex is a reliable landmark for identifying the mid-suprapectoral zone. The distance from the proximal LHB tendon to this crossing vessel averaged 6.32 cm in female specimens and 8.28 cm in male specimens. These findings allow appropriate tensioning of the LHB during arthroscopic suprapectoral tenodesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1172-1177
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Biceps tenodesis
  • anterior circumflex vessels
  • arthroscopic tenodesis
  • axillary nerve
  • cadaveric study
  • landmarks
  • musculocutaneous nerve
  • suprapectoral tenodesis


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