How to Remove K-Wires From the Wrist

Written by aubrey bailey | 13/05/2017
How to Remove K-Wires From the Wrist
K-wires temporarily stabilise fractures. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Wrist fractures are usually treated with several weeks of immobilisation in a plaster or fibreglass cast. More severe fractures require surgical intervention. A K-wire -- Kirschner wire -- is a wire that has a drill bit tip on one end that is drilled through soft tissue into the bone to directly stabilise the bone while it heals. These wires are temporary and typically used for 3 to 4 weeks. Although they require anaesthesia to insert, the removal process is typically painless, minimally invasive and performed in the doctor's office.

Position the patient in a seated position with the wrist supported on a flat, firm surface. Put on your gloves and clean the skin around the wire with iodine.

Remove the protective cap from the end of the wire by unscrewing it. Grasp the K-wire with the pliers by aligning with the groove in the pliers.

Stabilise the patient's hand with one hand and gently rotate the wire back and forth. Pull at a straight angle as you rotate the wire until it is completely out.

Fold the gauze and place it over the pin site. Secure with medical tape. Instruct the patient to leave the dressing on for 24 hours. After that time the patient can wash and dry the area and cover it with an adhesive bandage until the wound is closed.

Things you need

  • Iodine swab
  • Gloves
  • Medical pliers
  • Sterile gauze
  • Medical tape

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