Kids Health Info

Removal of metal ware

  • Removal of metalware involves taking out screws, plates, nails or pins that were inserted at a previous operation from healed bone. Removing metalware is a simple operation that requires only a short hospital stay. Usually the same cut from the initial operation is used to prevent further scarring. Not all metalware needs to be removed after an operation. Doctors will advise you of what is best for your child. 

    Reasons for removing metalware

    Metalware may be removed if it starts to present problems, such as pain or reduced movement.

    What to expect in hospital

    After an operation to have metalware removed:

    • your child's pain is controlled with medication
    • movement is started (often beginning with using crutches)
    • your child's wound (cut) is observed for bleeding.

    Care at home

    • Your child's wound will be covered with a waterproof dressing. This should be left on for a week after the operation. The wound should be watched for any signs of infection (see the Kids Health Info factsheet: Orthopaedic Wound Care ).
    • Movement should continue as the physiotherapist or nurse has explained.
    • Your child should only need pain relief for a short time once at home.  If pain persists longer than one week, contact your doctor or the orthopaedic specialist clinic.


    • You should visit your local doctor 10-14 days after the operation to check the wound.
    • Your child's nurse will give you instructions as to when your appointment will be to see doctors at the hospital. This is usually six weeks after the operation.

    Key points to remember

    • Any signs of wound infection or continued bleeding at home should be seen to immediately.
    • You can contact your local doctor or the orthopaedic specialist clinic if you are concerned.
    • Leave the dressing on for one week after the operation.

    For more information

    • Kids Health Info factsheet: Orthopaedic Wound Care 
    • RCH Platypus Ward (03) 9345 5432
    • RCH orthopaedic specialist clinic (03) 9345 6180

    Individual instructions



    Content developed by RCH Department of Orthopaedics Department.  First published: Oct 2005.

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This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.