External fixation has been widely used for many years in the UK, and is used for procedures such as fixation of complex fractures and realignment of limbs. Guidelines on management of open fractures advocate the use of external fixation.1
When a fracture is repaired with external fixation, the wires are visible outside the body. A pin site is a percutaneous wound where a wire or screw transfixes the skin and bone.
A pin site will never heal, due to the wire’s presence in the skin. Healing cannot begin until the external fixator is removed when the bone has healed. The main aim of wound care in these cases is to prevent infection from occurring.
Pin site infection is the most common local complication of external fixation, so many different care protocols have been used to try to minimise the risks of infection.
Pin site infections are usually acquired through healthcare intervention and should be considered as healthcare-associated infections.2 This, therefore, reflects the effectiveness and quality of pin site care provided by a healthcare organisation, as efficient care is crucial to prevent infections.