The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Pin Site Care

Pin Site Care

Pin Sites are where wires or pins go through the skin before attaching to the bone. It is important to look after these carefully in order to prevent problems such as infection. Wherever possible the patient or family should take ownership and carry out the pin site care, with appropriate guidance and support. The methods our staff use and advise our patients to use are based on sound evidence and adhere to national guidelines.

After the Operation

The first pin site dressings are put on in the operatiing theatre at the end of the operation while the patient is still under anaesthetic. The first change of pin site dressing is carried out on the ward two days later. Normally this is the best opporunity for the patient and familiy to learn how to do it, taught by the ward nurse. Prior to discharged home, the patient and family are given full instruction on pin site care, as well as being given all the necessary equipment. Only if patients and families are incapable for whatever reason do we arrange community nuses to carry out pin site care after discharge. Very occasionally if there are significant ongoing pin site problem will we arrange for the pin site care to be carried out by our outpatient staff.

Pin Site Changes

After the first pin site dressing change at two days, the basic principle of pin site care is to keep them covered at all times and change the dressing just once a week. Often this can be combined with a shower but the new dressing should not be placed on until the leg is totaly dry. If their is a problem with oozing or infection, the dressing on the troublesome pin site should be changed twice a week, or every other day if required.

Cleaning Method and Equipment

Equipment Required:

  • One dressing pack
  • Sterile Gauze, non-sterile cotton wool buds or sponge sticks
  • Cleaning solution: 0.5% Hydrex/Saline/cool boiled water
  • Allevyn dressing and clean scissors
  • Sterile gloves


  1. Wash your hands with soap and water. Put on gloves.
  2. Open dressing pack & set out eqipment using forceps.
  3. Pour the cleaning solution into the plastic tray.
  4. Cut the Allevyn sheet into 2cm squares with slit up the wire or pin.
  5. Pull plastic clips or bungs away from the skin up the wire or pin.
  6. Remove and discard old dressings in the yellow bag provided.
  7. Remove gloves, wash your hands and put on clean pair of gloves.
  8. Clean pin sites individually using sponge sticks/gauze/cotton wool buds soaked in the cleaning solutuion. Do not remove crusts.
  9. Ensure all sites are dry. If necessary, dry each site with a clean piece of gauze.
  10. Cover each pin site with a double layer of Allevyn (white side to the skin, pink side up).
  11. Push down clips or bungs with enough pressure to hold the dressing in place, but not too firmly.
  12. Dispose of dressing pack, unused dressings and sharps, carefully.