Biodegradable vs nonbiodegradable suture anchors for rotator cuff repair: a systematic review and meta-analysis

EFORT Open Rev. 2023 Oct 3;8(10):731-747. doi: 10.1530/EOR-23-0012.


Purpose: The use of non-biodegradable suture anchors (NBSA) in arthroscopic rotator cuff repair (RCR) has increased significantly. However, several complications such as migration, chondral damage, revision, and imaging difficulties have been reported. Meanwhile, the effectiveness of biodegradable suture anchors (BSA) in overcoming such complications and achieving functional outcomes requires further study. Thus, we aim to compare the clinical outcomes and complications of RCR using BSA and NBSA using direct comparison studies.

Methods: Two independent reviewers conducted systematic searches in PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science from conception to September 2022. Using the RoB 2 and ROBINS-I tools, we assessed the included studies for bias. We applied GRADE to appraise our evidence. Our PROSPERO registration number is CRD42022354347.

Results: Six studies (two randomized controlled trials, one retrospective cohort, and three case-control studies) involving 423 patients were included (211 patients received BSA and 212 patients received NBSA). BSA was comparable to NBSA in forward flexion, abduction, external rotation, Constant-Murley score, and perianchor cyst formation (P = 0.97, 0.81, 0.56, 0.29, and 0.56, respectively). Retear rates were slightly higher while tendon healing was reduced in BSA compared to NBSA, but the differences were not significant (P = 0.35 and 0.35, respectively).

Conclusion: BSA and NBSA appear to yield similar shoulder functions and complications in rotator cuff repairs.

Keywords: arthroscopic surgery; biodegradable; meta-analysis; nonbiodegradable; rotator cuff tear; suture anchors; systematic review.