A surgical staple and method for its use in closing an opening in mammalian tissue are disclosed. The staple comprises a central portion of strong, ductile, non-absorbable material and lower leg portions of absorbable material positioned at opposite ends of the central portion. The staple when closed is bent in the central portion to form a crown portion, so that the lower leg portions are in positions which approximate one another. After engagement, the lower leg portions extend through the tissue on either side of a closed opening so as to hold the tissue firmly in the closed position. After sufficient tissue healing has occurred, the biodegradable lower leg portions will loosen from the central portion, thus allowing for facile removal of the central portion.