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Child got metal screw inserted in ankle. When it should be taken out?

Feb 2014
User rating for this question
Very Good
Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 5931 Questions
10 months ago my 8 year old son sustained a salter XXXXXXX 4 and 5 of distal tibia (2 of the fibula). Three 3.5mm metal screws inserted. Fortunately the most recent X-ray (10 months post op) shows a parallel growth arrest line and as such no further treatment required as growth has not been disturbed significantly.
Question: IS IT BEST TO NOW HAVE THE 3 ANKLE SCREW REMOVED BASED ON AGE OF PATIENT ALONE (8 YEARS OLD). The screws are not causing any problem.
At the time the general view was 'screws remain in if no reason to 'go back in'.
I.e. They would only be taken out If there were reason to operate again
So now growth looks ok and there is no reason to go back in but the surgeon has slightly changed his view point and is recommending screw removal (under x XXXXXXX as they are in a tricky place and need to be careful of growth plate) because of the age of my son (eight years old) that they are easier to take out now and if left later the screws will be heavily embedded and could cause complications if another injury sustained at the same site.
The choice is up to us and I will probably go with the advise given. I would just like another view point on screw removal on an 8 year old boy if there is no pain being caused by those screws.
Your quick reply very much appreciated.....
Secondly (he has only just gone back to sport after 11 months off - he also broke his humerous and a finger last year)!! so am at pains to have him operated on and letting him have a normal happy time again would be nice! If we go ahead how long realistically until he can be up and about playing rugby etc again?
Posted Thu, 7 Mar 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 47 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query.

I also recommend you for screw removal.These screws (through growth plate) might hamper growth in future and at this time it is easier to take them out.

If you go ahead for screw removal, it take 10-14 days for stitch line healing and after that he can play rugby etc again.

Hope this discussion was useful. Please feel free to revert back in case you need any clarifications. Please close this discussion, if you do not have any other queries. I would appreciate your reviews about this service.

Wishing you good health...


Dr Saurabh Gupta.
Orthopaedic Surgeon.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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