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Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2014 Jan;22(1):142-53. doi: 10.1007/s00167-012-2340-8. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Meta-analysis comparing bioabsorbable versus metal interference screw for adverse and clinical outcomes in anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, 40002, Thailand.



To compare bioabsorbable screw (BS) against metal screw (MS) primarily on adverse effects and secondarily on clinical outcomes after single-bundle primary anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.


Electronic searches were performed using search strategies meeting the mentioned purposes. Retrieved articles were selected for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) reporting at least 1-year follow-up. Potential studies were selected under inclusion and exclusion criteria. Risk of biases and data extraction was completed by two review authors. Discrepancies were resolved through discussion. Mean difference and risk ratio with 95 % confidence interval (CI) were used for continuous and binary outcomes, respectively. Heterogeneity was assessed using I (2). Pooled treatment effects with 95 % CI were estimated using the fixed- or random-effect model where appropriate.


Eleven RCTs with 878 randomly allocated patients were included, and 711 patients (81 %) with eligible follow-up time up to 8 years were analysed. Comparing with the MS group, BS group using medial hamstring graft showed evidence of larger tunnel widening on the femoral side measured from radiographs or magnetic resonance imaging, though data could not be pooled because diverse measurement methods had been used. Significantly higher rates of effusion and screw breakage, and fewer cases of complete tunnel healing were reported in the BS group. Nevertheless, functional and clinical results were not deteriorated by the presence of these adverse effects for both short- and longer-term follow-ups.


This is the first systematic review focusing on adverse effects of the BS, such as larger tunnel widening and higher rates of other complications. With these effects, routine use of the BS should be balanced with the advantages claimed. Cost-effectiveness is another issue, and well-designed RCTs are needed to better validate the implication.

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