Fixation of osteochondritis dissecans lesions using poly(l-lactic acid)/poly(glycolic acid) copolymer bioabsorbable screws

Mitchell W. Larsen, William S. Pietrzak, Jesse C. DeLee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Background: Many osteochondritis dissecans lesion fixation techniques are effective. A new absorbable copolymer screw may be suitable for this application. Purpose: To characterize the mechanical and in vitro absorption properties of a copolymer fixation screw and determine the clinical efficacy of using the screw to fix osteochondritis dissecans lesions. Study Design: Case series and laboratory study; Level of evidence, 4. Methods: Seven patients diagnosed with unstable, partially open osteochondritis dissecans lesions were treated with debridement of the bed and fixation with 2.5-mm diameter screws made of LactoSorb copolymer; the patients were nonweightbearing for 6 weeks. Clinical and radiographic follow-up was for 25 to 37 months. Biomechanical testing was performed in synthetic bone over a 12-week period on buffer-incubated specimens. Results: Six of the 7 osteochondritis dissecans lesions healed clinically and radiographically; the osteochondritis dissecans fragment was removed from the seventh patient (unhealed). No symptoms indicative of an inflammatory reaction related to the presence of the absorbable screws, including recurrent effusion, warmth, or erythema, were noted. In the in vitro testing, the initial average peak pull-out and shear loads were 20.1 kg and 22.3 kg, respectively, with little strength remaining at 12 weeks. Conclusions: In general, the 2.5-mm-diameter LactoSorb copolymer screws provided adequate stability for healing of osteochondritis dissecans lesions and degraded without an inflammatory response by the body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005


  • Bioabsorbable
  • Biodegradable
  • Osteochondral
  • Osteochondritis dissecans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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