Date of Award



Biomedical and General Engineering


Lanny Griffin


The rotator cuff offers the stabilizing forces necessary for fine arm movement. The most common injury to the rotator cuff is the partial or full thickness tear of the supraspinatus tendon, which attaches the humerus to the scapula on the superior side, due to an acute or chronic injury. These injuries account for more than 4.5 million physician visits per year. Depending on the degree of tear, arthroscopic surgery may be needed to reattach the torn tendon to the humeral head. The current preferred method of surgery involves the insertion of a suture anchor into the humeral head that ties the detached tendon using sutures back to bone. Usage of suture anchors promotes healing of the supraspinatus tendon onto the bone re-establishing movement of the arm.

Although they provide a suitable healing interface, suture anchors are prone to various types of failure such as anchor eyelet breakage, suture failure, and anchor pullout. These failure modes necessitate intervention to reattach the tendon thus prolonging the healing period. Identifying and minimizing these failure modes will ensure optimum healing.

There are two goals of this study. Firstly, the paper will validate suture anchor pullout test methodology in comparison with previous studies using polyurethane blocks to ensure robust methods and results. Secondly, this study will investigate the effects of frontal plane humeral elevation on the pullout force of suture anchors.