Pin Site Complications Associated With Computer-Assisted Navigation in Hip and Knee Arthroplasty

Eli Kamara, Zachary P. Berliner, Matthew S. Hepinstall, H. John Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background There has been a great increase in the use of navigation technology in joint arthroplasty. In most types of navigation-assisted surgery, several temporary navigation pins are placed in the patient. Goals of this study are (1) to identify complications and (2) risk factors associated with placement of these pins. Methods This is a retrospective cohort study of all navigation-assisted hip and knee arthroplasty performed a single institution over a 3-year period. Records were reviewed and outcome measures were tabulated in a database. Complications included in the database were pin site infection, deep prosthetic joint infection, neurologic injury, vascular injury, and fracture through a pin site. Results A total of 3136 pin sites in 839 patients were included in the study. Five pin site complications were reported with a complication rate of 0.16% per pin site and 0.60% per patient. The complications-per-procedure were slightly higher for unicondylar knee arthroplasty (0.64%) compared with patellofemoral arthroplasty (0%) and total hip arthroplasty (0.46%), but not statistically significant. There were three infections, one neuropraxia, and one suture abscess. No periprosthetic fractures through a pin site were reported. All complications were resolved with nonoperative treatment. The infections required oral antibiotics, and were associated with transcortical drilling in two cases and juxtacortical drilling in the third. Conclusion Pins required for navigation-assisted arthroplasty have a low complication rate. Transcortical or juxtacortical drilling may be a risk factor for pin site infection; future studies should be directed at quantifying this effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2842-2846
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • computer navigation
  • computer-assisted surgery
  • pin sites
  • postoperative complications
  • tracker pin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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