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They cost how much??? 3

Posted by DarrenG on September 17, 2009

lollipop-sticksIlizarov frame patients will be familiar with the daily ritual of pin site cleaning.

Every morning after removing old dressings and showering I have to clean all 15 pin sites using saline fluid and special polygon ‘lollipop’ cleaning sticks and any pin sites that are weeping or bleed have to be covered with a non-adhesive padded dressing.

Whilst I was in hospital this was no problem, I was provided each day with a kit of the fluid, lollipop sticks and dressings as required. And when I was discharged I was issued with a small stock of them to keep me going.

Back at home I researched the dressings and cleaning sticks I needed and it threw up some nasty surprises! The 5cm x 5cm Allevyn Non-Adhesive dressings cost £18 per box of 10. Even though I only have 5 pin sites that require dressing that is nearly £9/day for dressings alone or £270 per month!

The polygon lollipop sticks however, are only available in bulk packs of 300 and these cost £60+. I can’t be sure of the exact price as I can’t find anyone who sells to the general public.

I’d assumed that our GP would simply issue a prescription for these but whilst they will happily cover the dressings, albeit in 20cm x 10cm packs which I cut up as required and the saline, the lollipop sticks are not on the list of prescribable items and so I can’t have them.

I can understand budgets etc and that there has to be a limit. I could use cotton buds which is what most recommend as an option and indeed I do for those pins that simply require a gentle clean. But for pins which are heavily crusted in blood etc, the lollipop sticks are ideal as they scrub the pin and skin gently but with enough vigour to remove the dried blood. Cotton buds or Q-Tips simply don’t work in these circumstances.

So now I’m left rationing out the few remaining lollipop sticks for the most troublesome pin sites only and use cotton buds for the remainder. I’m still trying to find a supplier who will sell the lollipop sticks to the public, I am lucky enough to be able to afford them although even a pack of 300 is only 8wks supply when rationed or 2wks if used on each pin.

Given I already have one infected pin site, and the danger that a pin infection could pose if untreated, proper cleansing is as important as any other part of this procedure so it does seem rather short sighted that I can’t get these cleaning sticks more easily.

if anyone can suggest a source for these sticks, (NHS Supply Reference) in whatever quantity then I’d be grateful!



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  1. Jill J Thu, 17 Sep 2009 19:36:27 GMT+0100

    Good luck with that! I couldn’t find anything that I needed earlier on. Especially without spending a fortune! I was told to use sponges on the pin sites that would “weep.” I couldn’t buy them anywhere. And even if I could have, my doctor said that they are “very expensive.” I finally found sponge make up applicators and have been using those ever since. Ha ha! (My doctor said it was fine and laughed about it.) As far as the lollipop sticks, I don’t think you will need those much longer. Your pin sites probably won’t be that yucky for much longer.

    By the way, I don’t even “clean” my pin sites anymore. When I take a shower I just soap up my leg and pin sites with an anti bacterial hand soap (foaming Dial.)

  2. Trevor Brown Sun, 20 Sep 2009 18:39:23 GMT+0100

    Hi Darren, my daughter had similar pin-site issues with external fixators following a broken pelvis (a car ran over her twice). She used silver impregnated (NHS) dressings, as they do minimise infection, but are much more expensive. We bought one of those 3 month NHS prescription pre-pay things, which helped keep the dressing and medication costs down. Hope you continue to make good progress and for the success you hope for.
    Keep up the good work at PocketGPSWorld.
    Regards, Trevor

  3. DarrenG Sun, 20 Sep 2009 18:50:51 GMT+0100

    Trevor, very interesting, will discuss with GP as they may prove useful for the two sites that have proved troublesome for infections.

    I had no idea that you could buy a 3mth pre-pay prescription until some else mentioned it on Twitter earlier today. Given I’ve spent £30 each fortnight on dressing and medication prescriptions the 3mths for £30 is a no-brainer, just annoyed that my Doctor or the Chemist never thought to mention it as an option!

    Have now ordered a 300pc pack of the lollipop cleaning sticks at a cost of £86 because I feel they help clean the sites more effectively than Q-Tips. So any savings we can make elsewhere are welcome!

    I hope your daughter recovered OK, that sounds truly horrendous, at least I had time to prepare and knew what was coming. I don’t regret it at all as 6mths discomfort is worth it for another 40yrs with a leg that is ‘fixed’!




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