K-wire and Suture Removal

Your surgeon will likely utilise several stitches, or ‘sutures’, to secure wound edges together. Combinations of dissolvable and non-dissolvable sutures are often used. Once the wound has closed, your hand therapist will remove your sutures, usually between 10-14 days post operatively as requested by your doctor. This is generally a simple and non-invasive procedure.

Kirschner wires, otherwise known as ‘K-wires’ are stainless steel wires commonly used in orthopaedic or plastic surgery to secure a fracture, or to hold a joint in a good position. The k-wire can be inserted into a bone directly through the skins surface (leaving the head protruding through the skin) or buried under soft tissue. This type of fixation is commonly utilised for hand or finger injuries, as it is a relatively non-invasive method, and can provide adequate stability with minimal soft tissue exposure.

Your k-wire will be required to stay in place for a period of time following surgery to allow structures to heal. The length of time will be decided by your surgeon, though is usually between 4-6 weeks. It will then need to be removed. Your Hand Works therapist can do this for you if requested by your surgeon. Removal is typically straight forward.

An orthosis is often recommended to be worn to protect the k-wires from being knocked, and to protect the healing structure. It is extremely important to keep the k-wires clean to prevent infection. Your therapist will discuss hygiene and care techniques with you.

If you have concerns regarding your sutures or k-wires being removed, please let your therapist know. kwire1