SA Orthopaedic Journal
Print version ISSN 1681-150X
BACKGROUND: Pin site-related problems remain one of the most common complications in the realm of limb reconstructive surgery. Several factors determine the integrity of the bone-pin interface, including the insertion technique, the mechanical forces applied through the frame and the selected pin site care protocol. Pin site complications can be catastrophic as they may lead to failure of the bone-pin interface and, possibly, osteomyelitis. METHODS: Between July 2008 and July 2011, 111 patients at our Limb Reconstruction Unit were treated with circular external fixators. These patients' records were reviewed with regard to pin site complications, treatment thereof and outcome. RESULTS: Eighty patients met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Pin site infection was found in 21 patients (26.25%). One patient had a major infection, which required debridement of the pin tract. The remaining 20 cases were all minor infections that responded to local treatment and oral antibiotics. CONCLUSION: Circular external fixation remains a safe treatment method, with the majority of pin site complications being of a minor nature that respond readily to local treatment and oral antibiotics
Keywords : Pin site; complications; external fixation.