What are K-Wires?
K-wires are surgical wires that are used to hold bones in a corrected position following surgery. The K-wires stick out of the skin so that they can be easily removed once the bone has healed.
They are covered with a dressing and a plaster cast and you / the patient will not be able to see them; alternatively they may be exposed out of the toe/finger. The K-wires can usually be removed in the Outpatient Department.
How to prepare for K-Wire removal?
Prior to your clinic appointment we recommend you / the patient takes some simple pain relief (e.g. paracetamol).
Etonox (gas and air) may be used for pain relief in the Outpatient Department. The nurse will explain how to use this.
The plaster cast will be removed in the plaster room. This does not hurt but a noisy machine may be used and you / the patient may feel vibration from the plaster cutter. Alternatively, if the cast is a backslab or a dressing, scissors will be used.
Removal of the K-Wires
The dressings around the K-wires will be removed and skin around the K-wires cleaned before the K-wires are removed using special pliers. This procedure is quick and may feel strange but is not usually too uncomfortable.
A further plaster cast may be applied for a few more weeks and an outpatient appointment made for the plaster cast to be removed.
At this appointment, you / the patient will be shown exercises to get movement and strength back.
Some adult patients may require some physiotherapy after the removal of Kwires. Children should not play contact sports for 4 – 6 weeks after removal of the cast.