Your metal external device/frame will need special care following your limb reconstruction. Your limb will be sensitive during the healing process and it’s important to clean your wounds correctly and ensure your frame isn’t damaged.
The following steps should be taken when showering. Note, baths are not recommended as the bath water may contain contaminants.
- The pin sites should be cleansed by showering with an antibacterial soap once a week.
- Wash your hands with antibacterial soap before you start the shower.
- Once in the shower, allow the soap and water to run over the frame. This should be done by pouring the soap into the palm of your hand and allowing the water to gently disperse the soap over the limb.
- The soap and water will gently remove the existing dressings. If the dressings get stuck, saturate with warm water for longer and gently remove them. Do not try to force the dressings off and do not rub the site.
- Shower the rest of your body as normal but do not allow scented soaps, shampoo or conditioner to come into contact with the frame.
- Rinse your limb again to ensure any soap residue is removed.
- Rinse and pat dry the frame using a separate clean towel to avoid cross contamination. Do not use a hairdryer.
After the shower
Follow these steps to replace your dressings after you have cleaned and dried the frame.
- Clean your hands using an antibacterial soap or alcohol hand sanitiser.
- Cut a small square of Allevyn (provided in your discharge pack) and white foam dressing – one piece for each pin/wire site.
- Place the dressing around the pin/wire site (pink side up).
- Place the white foam dressing on top in the opposite direction to seal the pin site.
- Gently push down the clip/rubber bung to hold the dressing snugly in place.
Swimming in a pool or the ocean is allowed if approved by your surgeon or speciality nursing staff. However, this can only occur once your sutures have been removed (if applicable) or the surgical wounds have healed.
Make sure you rinse your limb thoroughly after swimming and dry the frame as outlined for the showering process.
Pin site infections
As the pins and wires go through the skin and muscle and attach to the bone it is inevitable that you will experience a pin site irritation or infection at some stage.
Signs of infection may include:
- an increase in pain
- redness , swelling and warmth around the pin sites
- discharge which is thick, cloudy, yellow, green or has an offensive odour
- a high temperature.
Use a gauze square soaked with Chlorhexidine Solution to gently remove the discharge and clean the skin around the pin site.
If you have any concerns about your child’s treatment please contact the clinical nurse (limb reconstruction) on 07 3068 2026 or 07 3068 3146.
If there is no answer, please call the Queensland Children’s Hospital switch on 3068 1111 and ask for the orthopaedic registrar on call or contact your general practitioner (GP) or local hospital for advice.
Queensland Children’s Hospital
501 Stanley Street, South Brisbane
t: 07 3068 1111 (general enquiries)
In an emergency, always call 000.
If it’s not an emergency but you have any concerns, contact 13 Health (13 43 2584). Qualified staff will give you advice on who to talk to and how quickly you should do it. You can phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.