Pin Site Care
The pins sites of a frame need to be regularly maintained to prevent infection. Infection can follow a pin into a bone, and lead to loosening of pins.
For the first two weeks after surgery, all the wounds remain covered. After two weeks, the pin sites will be cleaned and dressed at least weekly. The skin around the pins should be manipulated to stop the skin from sticking to the wire or pin. This is to allow any collection of fluid around the pin site to be released and not form an abscess under the skin. You can wash as normal in the shower. The frame can be washed with the shower to keep it clean. Dry the skin carefully afterwards – a hairdryer on a cool setting can be used to gently dry around pin sites.
Sometimes pin sites become inflamed. This is almost inevitable when the skin is near a joint and is moving, or if the pin passes through a lot of soft tissue between the bone and the skin. If there is a lot or redness, this usually indicates a small infection in the skin. You should have a course of antibiotics from your GP or from us if this occurs.
If there is a problem that you are unable to deal with, then come back to my clinic. If you let us know that you are having a problem by speaking to one of the secretaries (0161 276 1234 and ask for Mr Shoaib’s Secretary in Orthopaedics) then we can arrange to see you as soon as possible.
The chlorhexidine is very dilute and is not the thick soap (4%) that is used for washing hands. This dilute version (hydrex pink) is very difficult to get hold of outside of hospital, and we will supply you with this. Pharmacies do not stock this.
Some people are sensitive to Chlorhexidine and develop dermatitis. If this occurs, or if patients have psoriasis, then we can use Prontosan, which patients may find less irritating.
How to apply the dressings
- Make a stack of 5 of the 5cm x 5cm dressing gauze. Cut a slit into the middle of it.
- Soak the stack in dilute pink antiseptic (chlorhexidine) and squeeze so that it is not dripping
- Apply the slit to the wire or bolt at the skin
- Overlap the edges around the wire or bolt and push down the bung to hold it in place
- The final dressing in place