The objective of this study was to prospectively compare the incidence of pin tract infection in pediatric supracondylar humerus fractures managed with pin care daily or every other day or weekly. We hypothesized that there were some differences between these three methods. From June 2012 to May 2015, 135 children with supracondylar humerus fractures were randomized to postoperative pin care by cleaning pin tracts daily (group A, 45 cases) or cleaning every 2 days (group B, 45 cases) or cleaning weekly (group C, 45 cases). The three groups were comparable with respect to age, gender, affected side, body mass index (BMI), fracture type, injury to surgery time, number of intraoperative percutaneous pinning, and follow-up time. We collected data on pin retention time, union time, and pin tract infection. The average follow-up time of group A was 4.5 ± 1.3 and 4.2 ± 1.6 months in group B and 4.3 ± 1.4 months in group C. The patient demographics and intraoperative variables of three groups were comparable. No significant difference between these three groups was found in union time and pin fixation time. Of the 135 children, 48 (35.6%) cases had pin tract infection. Grade I infections (Checketts-Otterburns classification) occurred around 28.9% of 270 pin and grade II around 6.7%. We found no differences between three groups as regards frequency and severity of pin tract infections (both P > 0.05). However, complain of pain was more frequent in group A than other two groups (P < 0.05).
All of the three methods were effective for the management of pin site infection in pediatric supracondylar humerus fractures. However, excessive frequent care as well as pin care daily had the disadvantages of child's fear and parental anxiety. What is Known: • Pin site infection is a common complication after fracture fixation and bone lengthening using percutaneous pins or wires. • Closed reduction and percutaneous K-wires fixation are the mainstay of treatment in pediatric supracondylar humeral fractures. What is New: • All of the three methods were effective for the management of pin site infection. • Excessive frequent care as well as pin care daily has the disadvantages of child's fear and parental anxiety.