It is important for you and your child to know the signs and symptoms of complications so that they can be diagnosed and treated early.

Painful Pin Sites

Pin site infections do not occur immediately after surgery, but may occur once the patient is home. If any of the pin sites become painful, swollen or red, or if you notice an unusual amount of discharge, try cleaning the affected area more often and contact your child’s doctor for advice. If there is no improvement after two days, or if the discharge becomes thick or colored, you should contact the Limb Reconstruction Center at Cincinnati Children’s.

A swab of the drainage may be taken to identify the infection, and your child may be prescribed an antibiotic. The tenderness and drainage often improve within 24 to 48 hours of taking the antibiotic.

Nerve Problems

The first sign of a nerve problem is called referred pain. This is pain in the foot or hand that occurs during the lengthening phase (when the fixator is adjusted to slowly stretch the bone). The pain is often in the top of the foot or hand, or in a location where there are no pin sites.

Another sign of a nerve problem is increased or decreased feeling in the area of the foot or hand. Report either of these signs to your child’s physician as soon as possible. It may be a symptom of nerve irritation.