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External Fixation Device for a Child
An external fixation device
has a metal frame. The frame may go around the limb (arm or leg) or it may go along one side of the limb. The frame is held in place by pins and wires. The pins and wires are put through the skin and attach to bone. The device is used when your child has a complex break or a bone deformity. The device is put in place during surgery.
Call your child's surgeon or doctor if:
- Your child has a fever of 100.4°F (38ºC) or higher.
- Your child's fingers or toes look pale or blue, and are cold, numb, or tingling.
- Your child has pain and warmth at the pin sites.
- Your child's sites have more redness and drainage than usual.
- The frame or pins are loose or move more than usual.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition, care, or device.
- Pain medicine may be needed to take away or decrease pain. Know how often your child should get the medicine and how much. Watch for signs of pain in your child. Tell providers if his or her pain continues or gets worse. To prevent falls, stay with your child to help him or her get out of bed.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines your child uses to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your child's doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
- Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Pin sites are where the pins or wires enter the skin. Germs can get into your child's body through the pin sites and cause infection. Care includes cleaning the sites and looking for infection. Your child's healthcare provider will teach you and your child how to clean the sites. He or she will tell you how many times in a day to do the cleaning and check for infection.
How to clean your child's pin sites:
Follow the specific instructions from your child's healthcare provider.
- You may need to use gauze, cotton swabs, tweezers, a squirt bottle, or gloves. Use a different gauze and swab for each site.
- Your healthcare provider will tell you which liquid to use to clean the site. He or she may tell you to use peroxide, saline, or soap and water.
- You can soak gauze in the liquid and wrap it around the pins to help remove any crusting.
- Always wash your hands before and after you clean the sites.
Follow up with your child's surgeon as directed:
Your child's surgeon will need to make sure the device is in the correct position. He or she will also check if your child's bone is healing properly. Write down your and your child's questions so you remember to ask them at your child's visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.