Fixation of osteotomies using bioabsorbable screws in the canine femur

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1998 Oct;(355):300-11. doi: 10.1097/00003086-199810000-00032.


The purpose of this study was to compare the healing properties of femoral osteotomies fixed by bioabsorbable screws (20:80 polyglycolic copolylactic acid copolymer) to standard stainless steel screws of a similar design in a dog femoral model. Two osteotomies were used, the trephine osteotomy (10 mm diameter) in the metaphyseal lateral femoral condyle and in the femoral diaphysis, and a unilateral osteotomy in the lateral femoral condyle. Two months after the trephine osteotomies, the femurs that contained the polymer screws were not significantly different in mechanical strength from the femurs treated with the stainless steel screws, either in the diaphyseal or metaphyseal model. There was no histological difference in bone healing between the metallic and polymer screws for all periods (2, 9, and 17 months). There was no adverse inflammatory response to the polymeric or metallic screws. By month 17, the polymer screws were resorbed completely. All the diaphyseal screw tracks had healed with bone and areas of remodeling were evident in two specimens. For the femoral condyle osteotomy model at 2 months, the polymer screws were present and intact, and all osteotomies healed with no evidence of inflammation. By 9 months, only one specimen had polymeric material left in the screw track. At 15 months, the screw tracks still were present but no evidence of any polymer remained. The tracks were filled with fibrous and adipose connective tissue. All osteotomies stabilized with either bioabsorbable polymer screws or stainless steel screws did heal satisfactorily without any complications, inflammation, or osteolysis. The polyglycolic polylactic acid copolymer may have a clinical role as a bioabsorbable material without the concerns for the osteolysis, foreign body reaction, and sterile abscess formation that have occurred with bioabsorbable fixation methods in the past.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorbable Implants*
  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials*
  • Bone Screws*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Dogs
  • Femoral Fractures / surgery*
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / instrumentation*
  • Fracture Healing
  • Lactic Acid*
  • Male
  • Materials Testing
  • Osteotomy / instrumentation*
  • Polyglycolic Acid*
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polymers*
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Stainless Steel*
  • Tensile Strength


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Polymers
  • Stainless Steel
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polyglycolic Acid
  • Lactic Acid