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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 36-43

Which pin site dressing is the most optimal? A systematic review on current evidence

1 Department of Trauma Surgery, University Medical Center Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany
2 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Trauma and Limb Reconstruction, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark

Correspondence Address:
Volker Alt
Department of Trauma Surgery, University Medical Center Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauß-allee 11, 93053 Regensburg
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jllr.jllr_29_21

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Background: Pin site infection is a frequent complication after external fixation. However, no consensus on the optimal pin site care protocols exists. Objectives: This study aimed at providing an overview of currently applied pin site care protocols and evaluating their efficiency in terms of infection rates. Data Sources: A systematic search of PubMed, Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases was performed. Study eligibility criteria, participants, and interventions: Comparative studies of pin site care protocols reporting the infection rate as complication related to external fixator application as an outcome were eligible for inclusion. Study Appraisal and Synthesis Methods: The ROBINS-I tool was used to assess the risk of bias in nonrandomized studies. The Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP) tool and Coleman Methodology Score were applied for publication quality assessment. Results: A total of 380 manuscripts were screened, yielding an inclusion of 20 articles reporting on 1428 patients. Of these, 17 (85%) studies compared different materials and antimicrobial agents, whereby 9 of these found significant differences. Three studies compared pin site care with no pin site care, and the optimal pin site care frequency was addressed in three studies. None of them reported a statistically significant difference between daily or weekly pin site care. Limitations: Pin site care protocols in the literature are heterogeneous. Conclusions and Implications of Key Findings: No recommendation can be drawn regarding the optimal cleansing solution and dressing type. However, based on this review, a benefit of pin site care compared to no pin site care is suggested. Further, minimal pin care was not associated with significantly worse outcomes, and hence, the need of laborious protocols including frequent cleaning or the use of antimicrobial agents remains questionable.

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