In vivo healing after capsular plication in an ovine shoulder model.

B. T. Kelly*, A. S. Turner, M. Bansal, M. Terry, B. R. Wolf, R. F. Warren, D. W. Altchek, A. A. Allen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Traditionally, arthroscopic management of shoulder instability has been reserved for patients with isolated Bankart lesions without any capsular laxity or injury. To date, there are no animal studies evaluating the healing potential of capsular plication and/or capsulo-labral repair. The purpose of this in vivo animal study was to determine if the histological capsular healing of an open capsular plication simulating an arthroscopic plication is equivalent to the more traditional open capsular shift involving cutting and advancing the capsule. Twenty-six skeletally mature sheep were randomized to either an open capsular plication simulating arthroscopic plication (n = 13), or an open traditional capsular shift (n = 13). A sham operation (n = 4) was also performed involving exposure to visualize the capsule. Normal non-operated control shoulders were also analyzed. A pathologist blinded to the treatment evaluated both hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) sections and polarized light microscopy. Qualitative scoring evaluated fibrosis, mucinous degeneration, fat necrosis, granuloma formation, vascularity, inflammatory infiltrate and hemosiderin (0 to 3 points). Both the capsular plication and open shift groups demonstrated healing by fibrosis at the site of surgical manipulation. There were no statistical differences in the capsular healing responses between the two groups with regard to fibrosis, granuloma formation and vascularity. The open shift group demonstrated significantly more mucinous degeneration (p = 0.038). Fat necrosis was present in 4/13 specimens in the open shift group and none in the capsular plication specimens. Both groups demonstrated disorganized collagen formation under polarized light microscopy. There were no differences between non-operated control specimens and sham surgery specimens. Our findings support the hypothesis that histologic capsular healing is equivalent between the plication group and the open shift group. In addition, the open shift group demonstrated significantly more changes indicative of tissue injury. This basic science model confirms capsular healing after simulated arthroscopic plication, providing support for arthroscopic capsular plication in practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-101
Number of pages7
JournalThe Iowa orthopaedic journal
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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