St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Pin care

    Broken bone - rod care; Broken bone - nail care; Broken bone - screw care

    Broken bones can be fixed in surgery with metal pins, screws, nails, rods, or plates. These metal pieces hold the bones in place while they heal. Sometimes, the metal pins need to stick out of your skin to hold the broken bone in place.

    The metal and the skin around the pin must stay clean to prevent infection.

    Pin Site

    In this article, any metal piece that is sticking out of your skin after surgery is called a pin. The area where the pin comes out of your skin is called the pin site. This area includes the pin and the skin around it.

    You must keep the pin site clean to prevent infection. If the site becomes infected, the pin may need to be removed. This could delay bone healing, and the infection could make you very sick.

    Signs of Infection

    Check your pin site every day for signs of infection. Signs of infection include:

    • Skin redness or skin at the site is warmer
    • Swelling or hardening of the skin
    • Pain
    • Drainage that is yellow, green, thick, or smelly
    • Fever
    • Numbness or tingling in the part of your body where the pin is
    • Movement or looseness of the pin

    If you think you have an infection, call your surgeon right away.

    Cleaning Supplies

    There are different types of pin-cleaning solutions. The two most common solutions are sterile water or a mixture of half normal saline and half hydrogen peroxide. Use the solution that your surgeon recommends.

    You will need these supplies for cleaning your pin site:

    • Gloves
    • Sterile cup
    • Sterile cotton swabs (about three swabs for each pin)
    • Sterile gauze
    • Cleaning solution

    Cleaning Your Pin Site

    Clean your pin site twice a day. Do not put lotion or cream on the area unless your surgeon tells you to use them.

    Here are basic steps for cleaning your pin site. Your surgeon may have special instructions.

    1. Wash and dry your hands.
    2. Put on gloves.
    3. Pour the cleaning solution into the cup and put half of the swabs in the cup to moisten the cotton ends.
    4. Use a clean swab for each pin site. Start at the pin site and clean your skin by moving the swab away from the pin. To do this move the swab in a circle around the pin, then make the circles around the pin larger as you move away from the pin site.
    5. Remove any dried drainage from your skin with the swab.
    6. Use a new swab or gauze to clean the pin. Start at pin site and move up the pin, away from your skin.
    7. When you are done cleaning, use a dry swab or gauze in the same way to dry the area.

    For a few days after your surgery you may wrap your pin site in dry sterile gauze, while it is healing. After this, you should leave the pin site open to air.

    If you have an external fixator (a steel bar that may be used for fractures of long bones), clean it with gauze and cotton swabs dipped in your cleaning solution every day.

    Most patients who have pins can take a shower 10 days after surgery. Ask your surgeon how soon you can shower.

    References

    Nettina SM. Musculoskeletal health. Lippincott Manual of Nursing Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006.

    BACK TO TOP

          A Closer Look

            Talking to your MD

              Self Care

              Tests for Pin care

                Review Date: 4/18/2012

                Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

                The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
                adam.com

                A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


                Back  |  Top
                About Us
                Contact Us
                History
                Mission
                Locations & Directions
                Quality Reports
                Annual Reports
                Honors & Awards
                Community Health Needs
                Assessment

                Newsroom
                Services
                Brain & Spine
                Cancer
                Heart
                Maternity
                Orthopedics
                Pulmonary
                Sleep Medicine
                Urgent Care
                Women's Services
                All Services
                Patients & Visitors
                Locations & Directions
                Find a Physician
                Tour St. Luke's
                Patient & Visitor Information
                Contact Us
                Payment Options
                Financial Assistance
                Send a Card
                Mammogram Appointments
                Health Tools
                My Personal Health
                mystlukes
                Spirit of Women
                Health Information & Tools
                Clinical Trials
                Health Risk Assessments
                Employer Programs -
                Passport to Wellness

                Classes & Events
                Classes & Events
                Spirit of Women
                Donate & Volunteer
                Giving Opportunities
                Volunteer
                Physicians & Employees
                For Physicians
                Remote Access
                Medical Residency Information
                Pharmacy Residency Information
                Physician CPOE Training
                Careers
                Careers
                St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
                Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile