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The use of biodegradable materials as implants has revolutionized the way medicine is practiced today. This review provides a general description of salient biodegradable polymeric materials currently used in arthroscopy. These materials include polyglycolic acid, self-reinforced polyglycolic acid, poly-L-lactic acid, self-reinforced polylactic-L-acid, poly-D-L-lactic acid, copolymer of poly-D-L-lactic acid polyglycolic acid, and polyglyconate. The mechanical strength, degradation properties, and widespread use of these materials, especially in the knee and shoulder, are discussed individually. Also discussed are the relatively few complications that are related to these materials' arthroscopic use. Future directions in biodegradable materials, including smart polymers, are also considered. In the future, novel techniques to identify the ideal polymer for a particular application will need to be developed to minimize the risk for implant complications.