Complications of bioabsorbable suture anchors in the shoulder

Aman Dhawan, Neil Ghodadra, Vasili Karas, Michael J. Salata, Brian J. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


The development of the suture anchor has played a pivotal role in the transition from open to arthroscopic techniques of the shoulder. Various suture anchors have been manufactured that help facilitate the ability to create a soft tissue to bone repair. Because of reported complications of loosening, migration, and chondral injury with metallic anchors, bioabsorbable anchors have become increasingly used among orthopaedic surgeons. In this review, the authors sought to evaluate complications associated with bioabsorbable anchors in or about the shoulder and understand these in the context of the total number of bioabsorbable anchors placed. In 2008, 10 bioabsorbable anchor-related complications were reported to the US Food and Drug Administration. The reported literature complications of bioabsorbable anchors implanted about the shoulder include glenoid osteolysis, synovitis, and chondrolysis. These potential complications should be kept in mind when forming a differential diagnosis in a patient in whom a bioabsorbable anchor has been previously used. These literature reports, which amount to but a fraction of the total bioabsorbable anchors implanted in the shoulder on a yearly basis, underscore the relative safety and successful clinical results with use of bioabsorbable suture anchors. Product development continues with newer composites such as PEEK (polyetheretherketone) and calcium ceramics (tricalcium phosphate) in an effort to hypothetically create a mechanically stable construct with and improve biocompatibility of the implant. Bioabsorbable anchors remain a safe, reproducible, and consistent implant to secure soft tissue to bone in and about the shoulder. Meticulous insertion technique must be followed in using bioabsorbable anchors and may obviate many of the reported complications found in the literature. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the existing literature as it relates to the rare complications seen with use of bioabsorbable suture anchors in the shoulder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1424-1430
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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