Incidence of Treatment for Infection of Buried Versus Exposed Kirschner Wires in Phalangeal, Metacarpal, and Distal Radial Fractures

Taylor J. Ridley, Will Freking, Lauren O. Erickson, Christina Marie Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose To determine whether there is a difference in the incidence of infection between exposed and buried K-wires when used to treat phalangeal, metacarpal, and distal radius fractures. Methods We conducted a retrospective review identifying all patients aged greater than 16 years who underwent fixation of phalangeal, metacarpal, or distal radius fractures with K-wires between 2007 and 2015. We recorded patient demographic data, fracture location, number of K-wires used, whether K-wires were buried or left exposed, and duration of K-wire placement. Results A total of 695 patients met inclusion criteria. Surgeons buried K-wires in 207 patients and left K-wires exposed in 488. Infections occurred more frequently in exposed K-wire cases than in buried K-wire ones. Subgroup analysis based on fracture location revealed a significantly increased risk of being treated for infection when exposed K-wires were used for metacarpal fractures. Conclusions Patients with exposed K-wires for fixation of phalangeal, metacarpal, or distal radius fractures were more likely to be treated for a pin-site infection than those with K-wires buried beneath the skin. Metacarpal fractures treated with exposed K-wires were 2 times more likely to be treated for a pin-site infection (17.6% of exposed K wire cases vs 8.7% of buried K wire cases). Type of study/level of evidence Therapeutic IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-531
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Volume42
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Keywords

  • Infection
  • Kirschner
  • hand
  • pin
  • wire

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