Early experience with biodegradable implants in pediatric patients

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2009 Jun;467(6):1591-8. doi: 10.1007/s11999-008-0537-4. Epub 2008 Oct 2.


We retrospectively studied nine children and adolescents with congenital malformations, large reconstruction after tumor excision, fractures and osteotomies of the upper extremity, and hand trauma with bone and soft tissue defects treated by internal synthesis using a biocopolymer of L- and DL-stereoisomers of lactic acid polymers and trimethylenecarbonate. A total of 52 biodegradable implants were placed in bone. At a minimum followup of 7 months (mean, 17 months; range, 7-22 months), wound healing was uncomplicated; local or systemic inflammatory tissue reactions, foreign body reactions, and infections were not observed. Bone healing was complete. Six biodegradable screws broke during insertion because of inadequate drilling and tapping, and three biodegradable screws had to be replaced because of damage to the screw head during assembly with the screwdriver. Biodegradable copolymers of poly-L-lactic-poly-DL-lactic acid and trimethylenecarbonate can be used safely and effectively for reconstruction and fixation of bone in children and adolescents.

Level of evidence: Level IV, therapeutic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

MeSH terms

  • Absorbable Implants*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polymers
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Upper Extremity / surgery*
  • Wound Healing / physiology


  • Polymers