Buried versus unburied Kirschner wires in the management of paediatric lateral condyle elbow fractures: a comparative study from a tertiary centre

J Pediatr Orthop B. 2016 Jan;25(1):69-73. doi: 10.1097/BPB.0000000000000226.


There is little consensus on whether Kirschner wire (K-wire) burial is preferable in the management of paediatric lateral humeral condyle fractures. We identified 124 patients from May 2008 to August 2014. Sixty received buried K-wires and 64 received unburied wires. We found no significant difference in the infection rates between groups, but a high rate of skin erosion (23%) in the buried group, with a subsequent high rate of infection in this subgroup (40%). We found a strong association of wire erosion following early surgery. There is a considerable cost saving associated with using unburied wires. We therefore recommend the routine use of unburied wires.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bone Wires*
  • Child
  • Elbow Joint / injuries*
  • Elbow Joint / surgery
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / adverse effects
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Humeral Fractures / surgery*
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / microbiology