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Pin Site Care

Your surgeon will guide you in the proper care and cleaning of the pin sites. You will need to learn how to remove dried blood and scabs from the pin sites to keep your skin from adhering to the pins and allow free drainage of your pin site.1

Gentle massage around the pin sites may also help to keep your skin from adhering to the pins. 2 Be gentle when you massage around your pin sites as excessive skin motion on the pins may cause infection. 3


You may not be allowed to shower approximately five to seven days after initial placement of the TAYLOR SPATIAL FRAME  . Until you are allowed to shower, your surgeon may have you clean the pin sites with cotton swabs and normal saline or other topical cleaner or antibiotic that your surgeon prescribes. During the first few days after the external fixator is placed, expect a clear yellow or slightly bloody drainage from the pin sites.


As long as there are no open wounds and once your surgeon allows it, you can shower with the TAYLOR SPATIAL FRAME  in place. You may consider placing a rubber mat in the tub or utilizing a shower chair or installing handrails in your shower for safety. When you are released to take showers, cleaning the pin sites with an antibacterial liquid soap and water while in the shower has proven to be a simple and effective pin site care method. Allow the soap and water to run down the extremity that the external fixator is attached to. Do not scrub. Rinse and dry the fixator and the extremity thoroughly. You can dry using a hair dryer on a cool setting.


If you have difficulty reaching or seeing all the pin sites, have a family member or friend help, or you can use a mirror. 4


Make sure that you follow your surgeon's recommendations for proper pin site care to avoid infection.


Any activities that involve soaking the external fixator in potentially contaminated water are discouraged. That means no natural ocean waters, rivers, etc. Your surgeon may, however, allow you to swim in a clean, chlorinated pool after your sutures are removed.



1. National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses. An Introduction to Orthopaedic Nursing. 2nd ed. New Jersey: Anthony J. Janetti, Inc., 1999.

2. Santy, J., “Nursing the Patient with an External Fixator.” Nursing Standard. 14, 31, 47 - 52, 2000.

3. Schwartsman, Vladimir, M.D. “What One Should Know About the ILIZAROV™ Method,” The ILIZAROV™ Method, , August 2000.

4. Haines, Dale (Slim). The ILIZAROV™™ & External Fixator Wearer's Support Group. Clothing Modifications, 1-2. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise, 1-2. Footwear, 1. ILIZAROV™ hints, tips and advice, 2, 4,

Please discuss nutrition, medication and treatment options with your doctor to make sure you are getting the proper care for your particular situation.  The information on this site does not replace your doctor's specific instructions.