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
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
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
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:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter W533 in the search box to learn more about "Pin Care: What to Expect at Home."
Current as of:
May 27, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal 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.