Update on the Use of Arrows in Meniscus SurgeryIn the past decade there have been many advances in the way surgeons repair the meniscus of the knee. New methods of surgery and new technology have helped make the surgery easier for patients and surgeons.
An absorbable implant is one type of technology that has become widely used in meniscus surgery. These biodegradable pieces can be placed through a tiny incision. A type of absorbable implant called an arrow is used to hold together healing tissues. It works sort of like a staple or a pin. The tissues heal together, and the implant slowly dissolves over a period of about three years.
These authors reported case studies of problems with arrows used in meniscus surgery. Four of 28 patients developed cysts over the arrows 10 to 12 weeks after surgery. The cysts all went away in 18 weeks by themselves. Another patient had the arrowheads break off the shaft of the arrow, causing small indentations in the cartilage on the surface of the thigh bone. The authors commented on other instances where the arrowheads had broken.
None of these patients had lasting difficulties. However, the authors suggest that more study is needed on the long-term effects of using arrows for repairing the knee meniscus. They were especially concerned that the broken arrowheads could indicate a design problem that may need to be corrected.
Edwin M. Tingstad, MD, et al. Complications Associated With the Use of Meniscal Arrows: Case Reports. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. January/February 2001. Vol. 29. No. 1. Pp. 96-98.
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