Navy

Ligament fixation screw

Anchor, screw, and barbed washer design provides superior attachment of ligaments in reconstruction surgeries

Medical & Biotechnology

Image: OpenStax College

When a ligament becomes detached from a bone, surgery is usually required to reconstruct the ligament and return the joint to stability. Often, a substitute ligament or graft is secured into bone tunnels to facilitate the incorporation of the ligament and provide permanent attachment. Many devices exist for fixation of these soft tissue grafts to bones such as suture anchors, staples, interference screws and the like but each of these devices possess one or more of the following problems preventing successful use and long-term positive outcomes.

  • Poor fixation strength allowing slippage of the graft during early rehabilitation
  • Limited bone to tendon interface for healing
  • Prominence of the implant which may cause pain
  • Difficult to adjust fixation
  • Requirement of second surgery for implant removal
  • Damage to bone by implant
  • Implants not amenable to tibia sided graft fixation

To address the above problems with fixation of ligaments, Navy medical researchers have developed an improved device and method of attachment. The device includes three parts – an outer tube similar to a common drywall anchor; an inner screw and; a cleated washer. A hole is drilled into the bone and the donor ligament is pressed into the hole. An outer tube is then inserted pressing the ligament to the bone. An inner screw with a cleated washer is then inserted into the outer tube further securing the device.

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