Silk bone screws may mend better than metal ones

Screws and a plate made of 100 percent silk are shown repairing a fracture in a model skull.

Gabriel Perrone

A silk screw isn’t as stiff as a metal one, and that may be important for putting bones back together.

Implanting the silk screws into rats’ hind limbs showed that the material could successfully pin bones back together over an eight-week period. Because silk has a similar stiffness to bone and can break down in the body, the new screws could be safer and less invasive than metal ones, researchers report March 4 in Nature Communications.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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