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Arthroscopy. 2010 Jun;26(6):821-31. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2009.12.026.

Material properties and composition of soft-tissue fixation.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Ave, Farmington, CT 06030, U.S.A.


Surgical interference screws and suture anchors for attaching soft tissue, such as ligaments and tendons, to bone are routinely used in arthroscopic surgery and sports medicine. Interference screw fixation provides a press fit between bone, graft/tendon, and screw and is frequently used to attach replacement ligaments in tunnels drilled for anterior and posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Suture anchors are used in surgical procedures wherein it is necessary for a surgeon to attach (tie) tissue to the surface of the bone, for example, during joint reconstruction and ligament repair or replacement. The composition of these implants ranges from metals to polymers and composites. Typically, because of the relatively large amount of torque that must be applied during insertion, these screws are constructed from metal. However, interference screws and suture anchors have also been constructed from bioabsorbable polymers and composites. The ideal material would (1) provide adequate mechanical fixation, (2) completely degrade once no longer needed, and (3) be completely replaced by bone. Because no material has been shown to be superior for all applications, the surgeon must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each to evaluate the optimum material for a given application and patient. The purpose of this article is to present a comprehensive review of the commercially available interference screws and suture anchors, with an emphasis on implant composition, interaction, and design. This article provides the orthopaedic surgeon with a background on biomaterials, specifically those used in interference screws and suture anchors. Because there is no material that is perfect for all surgical situations, this review can be used to make educated decisions on a case-by-case basis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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