Polydioxanone biodegradable pins in the knee: MR imaging

C. B. Sirlin, Robert D Boutin, J. Brossmann, M. N. Pathria, F. R. Convery, W. Bugbee, D. Resnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. Biodegradable solid implants have been developed as an alternative to metallic orthopedic fixation. In animal models, implants degrade within and are replaced by bone. This study documents the resorption of these devices in human patients with MR imaging. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. One hundred seventy-five 1.3-mm biodegradable pins made of polydioxanone were used to secure a total of 59 osteochondral allografts of the knee. Patients with the pins underwent scanning on a 1.5-T unit with 3.3- to 4-mm contiguous T1-weighted spin-echo (TR/TE, 600/15), fat-saturated proton density-weighted (3000/40), T2-weighted fast spin-echo (3000/63), and three-dimensional spoiled gradient-recalled (47/7; flip angle, 60°) sequences at 3, 6, 12, 24, or 36 months after surgery. Eighty-nine pins were imaged on multiple occasions. Two osteoradiologists interpreted the MR examinations. RESULTS. More than 80% of the pin channels were visible at 3 and at 6 months after surgery. By 24 months, only 20% of the pin channels were visible, with the remainder having been replaced by bone. At 3 months, nearly 40% of the pins were associated with adjacent marrow edema. Edema generally diminished, involving less than 20% of pins at later time points. Focal cartilage defects were evident at 32% of the pin insertion sites during the first 6 months, but these defects were present in only 4% of the insertion sites thereafter. CONCLUSION. Biodegradable polydioxanone pins usually resorb completely by 24 months. Marrow edema, presumably representing inflammation related to pin resorption, is infrequent and tends to resolve. Cartilage defects related to pin placement heal spontaneously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Polydioxanone biodegradable pins in the knee: MR imaging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this