ZocdocAnswersUnexposed pins in fingers - removal process?

Question

Unexposed pins in fingers - removal process?

I recently had surgery on my hand for 2 fractured fingers (proximal phalanx) with one being displaced. I now have 4 pins in place - 2 exposed (one in each finger) as well as 2 additional that are criss-crossed on the displaced finger... these are internal and under the skin but they are already beginning to "poke thru" since the swelling has subsided. What is the procedure for removing pins that are unexposed? Will I have to have additional surgery or will they be able to remove all 4 pins in a non-surgical environment? I originally had no problem leaving the 2 internal pins in place but didn't realize they would become troublesome... they are still underneath the skin at this point (still have some swelling) but I feel as though if any pressure is applied to the area that they will pop thru and they are painful to the touch - I now know that they have to come out and am just wondering what that will entail since that wasn't the original intent of their placement.

Answer

I'm sorry to hear that you had such a bad hand fracture and had to undergo such an invasive surgical procedure. The good news is that it seems that the swelling is subsiding nicely, so hopefully things are healing up quickly. I would suggest that you call your orthopedic doctor or your hand doctor, preferably the one who performed the surgery in the first place, to ask about this issue you are having with the pins poking through. Typically those pins need to stay in place for a minimum period of time to make sure that the bones have adequately healed, and it is not clear from your question how long it has been since your accident. Therefore, I think the advice of the orthopedic doctor who knows your case best is important, since they will be able to give you a straight answer about when the pins might come out. Removing the pins is a surgical procedure, since it involves cutting into the skin and exposing the bone underneath. However, pin removal is a much more simple and quick procedure than putting the pins into place! Your orthopedic doctor will be able to answer any more specific questions you might have about this procedure.

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