Many of the implants we use in orthopedic surgery are made of metal. For some surgeries, we can use “bioabsorbable” screws and anchors. In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I answer the question of a reader who wonders what happens after the absorbable screws dissolve.

Jamie asks:
I read that some screws used as anchors in tenodesis of the biceps tendon are dissolved and absorbed by the body. If this is the case, what keeps the biceps tendon attached to the bone after it dissolves? New bone? Scar tissue?

For many orthopedic surgeries, absorbable screws and other implants are available. A proximal biceps surgery where the surgeon attaches the tendon to bone at the top of the humerus usually involves one of these bioabsorbable screws. The surgeon drills a tunnel into the bone, and the screw holds the tendon within the tunnel, preventing the tendon from pulling out. Over time, the screw turns into bone, keeping the tendon attached in that location.

Tibial plateau fracture with metal plate and screws

Also read:
Ask Dr. Geier – Should you have hardware removed after your ankle fracture heals?
Ask Dr. Geier: Healing of tibial stress fractures

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