Smith & Nephew’s New “Open-architecture” Rotator Cuff Suture Anchor

In short

Smith & Nephew has announced the global launch of what it’s calling the HEALICOIL™ PK surgical suture anchor. Unlike solid-core anchors traditionally used in rotator cuff repair, the HEALICOIL PK suture anchor eliminates the anchor’s inner diameter material. According to the company, mechanical testing has shown that this innovative design provides significantly more thread engagement and greater pullout strength than its competitors, even in poor-quality, osteoporotic bone.


Smith & Nephew estimates that over 1 million rotator cuff procedures are performed on an annual basis globally to alleviate persistent shoulder pain and help patients regain a full range of motion.

Ligament reattachment dates back a long time, it being over twenty years since Mitek Anchors first appeared. Companies try hard to convince us that their iterative offerings outperform the previous generation. As a result product developers spend their hours dreaming up new configurations with ever more marginal benefits.

For anyone involved in conceptualising new anchors for ligament reattachment, the idea of getting rid of the core and just using the thread is appealing on several fronts, not least the reduction in foreign body being implanted. Smith & Nephew seems to have pulled it off (pardon the pun) with this new configuration anchor which it claims outperforms the myriad of competitors. It would appear that the device is inserted with a full depth metallic driver which is then removed, leaving sutures attached to the thread component of what would have been a screw. Quite how leaving the core void increases pull-out strength as claimed is unclear, but it does look as though the open design of the implant will allow excellent bony ingrowth, obviating the need for the device to be made from a bioabsorbable material.

The HEALICOIL PK suture anchor’s unique design means that less material will be left in the shoulder than with traditional, solid-core anchors. This is particularly beneficial in procedures where space is limited and multiple anchors are required, such as double-row rotator cuff repair. And since it’s made from PEEK-OPTIMA® Polymer from Invibio®, surgeons can trust in the anchor’s strength and biocompatibility.

Finally, the HEALICOIL PK suture anchor provides surgeons with high torsional strength during insertion because the inserter engages 100% of the anchor’s length. This feature minimises stress and distributes the torque across the entire anchor – essential when placing anchors into hard bone.

Clinician comments

“HEALICOIL PK has everything I’m looking for in the next generation of suture anchors,” explains James C. Esch. MD of San Diego, CA. “It uses a minimal amount of material, it’s triple-loaded with high-strength sutures and it’s easy to insert in both hard and osteoporotic bone.”

Company comments

“With its distinctive open-architecture design, the HEALICOIL PK suture anchor brings a new level of innovation to rotator cuff repair,” says Alain Tranchemontagne, Senior Vice President within Smith & Nephew’s Advanced Surgical Devices division. In addition to rotator cuff repair, The HEALICOIL PK suture anchor is also indicated for use in gluteal tendon repair.

Source: Smith and Nephew, PR Newswire