You have a broken bone. To help the bone heal correctly, your doctor has used an external fixator. This helps hold your broken bone in place from outside your body. It connects to the bone using pins or wires.
You will have the fixator until the bone is healed. How long this takes depends on the break. In general, a simple break can take up to 6 weeks to heal, and a more complex break can take up to 1 year to heal.
The areas where the pins go into the skin are called the pin sites. You must keep these areas clean to prevent infection. An infection could make a pin become loose or even require your doctor to take out a pin.
You generally can move around normally when the bone is healing. How much you can move depends on which bone was broken and the type of break it was.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Your doctor will give you specific information on when and how to clean the pin sites. The following is general information.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 21, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.