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Acta Orthop Scand. 2003 Dec;74(6):704-8.

No difference between daily and weekly pin site care: a randomized study of 50 patients with external fixation.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedics, University Hospital, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden. annette.w-dahl@ort.lu.se

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

We investigated whether there were any differences in the frequency and severity of pin site infections by performing pin site care daily or once a week. We studied patients operated on for gonarthrosis by the hemicallotasis technique, using hydroxyapatite-coated pins in the metaphyseal bone and standard pins in the diaphyseal bone.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

50 patients were prospectively randomized to daily (n = 27) or weekly (n = 23) pin site care. We evaluated pin sites, the occurrence of pain (VAS), the use of antibiotics and analgesics and complications every week. Bacterial cultures were taken from each pin site at 1, 6 and 10 weeks and from the pins on removal.

RESULTS:

We found no differences between daily or weekly pin site care as regards the frequency and severity of pin site infections, pain, or the use of antibiotics and analgesics. Grade I infections (Checketts-Otterburns classification) occurred around 11% of the pins and grade II infections around 4%. 70% of the bacterial cultures were negative. The most frequent bacteria were coagulase negative staphylococcus and corynebacterium. Antibiotics were given an average of 47 days. More problems occurred around the proximal pins. 5/200 (all proximal) pins were clinically loose on removal.

INTERPRETATION:

Pin site care once a week seems appropriate.

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