Abstract The presence of bioabsorbable materials in orthopaedics has grown significantly over the past two decades with applications in fracture fixation, bone replacement, cartilage repair, meniscal repair, fixation of ligaments, and drug delivery. Numerous biocompatible, biodegradable polymers are now available for both experimental and clinical use. Not surprisingly, there have been a wealth of studies investigating the biomechanical properties, biocompatibility, degradation characteristics, osteoconductivity, potential toxicity, and histologic effects of various materials. Promising results have been reported in the areas of fracture fixation, ligament repair, and drug delivery. In this article we review the pre-clinical in vivo testing of bioabsorbable devices with particular emphasis on implants used for these applications.