Pediatric Orthopedic External Fixator Pin Site Care
External fixators are used to lengthen the bone and to stabilize fractures. They are held in place
with small pins. The pin sites need to be checked daily as there is a small risk for infection. Your
nurse will show you how to care for your pin site before you are discharged. Please follow these
instructions for care at home:
1. Remove any dressings around the pin sites.
2. Wash your hands.
3. Assess the pin sites for drainage, redness or crusts.
a. Pin sites that have crusts around them should be soaked with sterile saline or half
strength hydrogen peroxide on a sterile cotton swab. After the site is cleaned, if there
is no redness or drainage, the site should be left open to the air.
b. Pin sites that are draining or have an area of redness around them should have a dry
i. Clean pin with half strength hydrogen peroxide or sterile saline on a sterile
ii. Allow to air dry.
iii. Apply Biopatch® around the pin with the blue side up
iv. Apply Kerlix™ gauze around pin
c. Pin sites that are sealed and are not draining or red should be left open to the air.
4. If your child has increased pain, redness greater than a quarter in size around the pin site,
pus, fever or is unusually tired, please call the clinic. Your child may need to come for a
clinic visit, and may be prescribed antibiotics.
5. Your child may take a shower 10 days after the surgery.
6. Swimming is allowed 3 weeks after the surgery only in chlorinated pools. No swimming
in lakes, rivers or ponds while the fixator is in place.
Call the Pediatric Specialty Clinics if you have any questions, (608) 263-6420, option 1. For
after hours, weekends and holidays, you will be connected with the paging system.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 1/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7864