We investigated the effect of in vivo degradation for 6-12 weeks on the fixation strength of polylactide bioabsorbable interference screws. Ten bioabsorbable interference screws were used to fix the patellar tendon autograft in ten live sheep knees, which were equally divided into two groups and killed in the 6th or 12th week. The control group consisted of four cadaveric knees. Following the killing of the animals the screws were retrieved and reused to fix patellar tendon grafts in cadaveric sheep knees. Tendon pull-out tests were performed for the partially degraded screws, for the control group, and for the reused screws of the control group. Macroscopic and microscopic examinations of the 6- and 12-week specimens were performed. Tendons pulled-out with an average force of 357+/-30 N in the cadaveric control group on the first use and with 465+/-118 N on the second use. The partially degraded screws failed with a mean load of 399+/-119 N in the 6-week group, and 12-week screws at 447+/-72 N. No macroscopic sign of degradation was observed on the retrieved screws. Histological examination of the 6 week specimens showed necrotic changes in the tendon around screw contact areas. Healing with granulation tissue was present in the same area in the 12th week. Foreign body reaction or an excessive inflammatory reaction was not observed. In vivo degradation of poly-L-lactide interference screws for 12 weeks thus causes neither a loss in the fixation strength of the screws nor an obvious inflammatory reaction.