Intraarticular migration of a broken biodegradable interference screw after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction

M. H. Baums, B. A. Zelle, W. Schultz, T. Ernstberger, H. M. Klinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Poly-l-lactic acid biodegradable screws have been used effectively for graft fixation in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. The overall complication rate associated with the use of this implant is low, although some authors reported complications, such as osteolysis and aseptic effusion of the knee joint. We report a case of a 29-year-old female patient with a failure of a biodegradable interference screw at 22 months after ACL reconstruction using bone-patellar tendon-bone graft. In this illustrated case, the screw broke and migrated into the knee joint. In addition, we performed a detailed review of the medical literature from 1990-2005 to identify possible causes of biodegradable screw failures. We identified six published cases of bioabsorbable interference screw failure with migration into the knee joint. Several authors have reported small diameter of the screw, poor bone quality, bone resorption, and screw divergence as potential causes for intraarticular migration of metallic interference screws. With regard to bioscrews, no specific risk factors for screw breakage and intraarticular migration have been reported. ACL reconstruction with the use of bioabsorbable interference screws for fixation is considered to be reliable. However, we need to be aware of potential problems associated with the use of this implant. Early recognition of bioscrew failure may prevent associated morbidities, such as subsequent cartilage damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)865-868
Number of pages4
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
  • Bioabsorbable interference screw
  • Complication
  • Intraarticular migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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