Hardware removal procedure factsheet


During some surgeries, your child may have hardware put in place to help keep everything together as they heal. Hardware can include: 

  • metal plates 
  • screws 
  • pins 
  • wires. 

It is important that hardware is removed after a certain amount of time. If hardware if left in place for too long, your child’s bones may grow out of place, become weak and cause discomfort. This can also increase the risk of bone fractures. 

 Before the procedure

Your child’s treatment team will assist you and provide you with information on how to prepare your child for the procedure. The physiotherapy team may also contact you to discuss your child’s recovery after the procedure. 

Before your child has the hardware removal procedure, it is important to: 

  • contact your local physiotherapist or occupational therapist to make an appointment for after the procedure date 
  • talk to your child’s school about the procedure, letting them know they will need time off to recover and support to return to school safely 
  • arrange time off for yourself around the surgery date and let family and friends know so they can give you support if needed 
  • let the hospital know as soon as possible if your child becomes sick before their procedure date, as it may need to be postponed.   

 During the procedure

Your child will be asleep (under general anaesthesia) for the procedure.  

The surgeon will cut through the same cuts made in their original surgery and remove the hardware. 

The procedure should be smaller and quicker than their original surgery, depending on the size, location and amount of hardware used.  

 After the procedure

Your child will be given medication when they wake up to manage their pain from the procedure. Pain management in hospital is done by giving medicine through an intravenous drip or taking medicine by mouth.  

Your child’s bones may be weaker after the hardware is removed, meaning they will be at higher risk of fracture for up to six weeks. It will take time for the area to heal and become strong again, so you will need to support your child to take care while they recover.  


Caring for your child at home

Your child will be sent home with pain relief to help them recover comfortably. Follow the timing and instructions for pain relief carefully, making sure to give pain relief before showering, transferring and toileting. 

You should also check your child’s skin near the surgery area for redness or pain, which may mean a pressure injury. You can help your child avoid pressure injuries by making sure they are not in one position for too long, and not resting the surgery area on hard surfaces. 

Recovery and movement at home

After the surgery, the physiotherapist and occupational therapist will show you how to transfer, or move from one place or position to another, and care for your child safely at home. 

The amount of supported standing or walking your child can do for transfers will depend on the quality and strength of their bones after the procedure. 

Children who can walk after their hardware is removed may need more support with moving and can use supports like a walking frame or crutches for safety. 

Some children will need extra physiotherapy when they get home to improve the movement of their joints and help them walk. Your child’s physiotherapy team at the hospital can help you arrange this. 

Last updated Friday 8th December 2023


This factsheet is provided for general information only. It does not constitute health advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat any health condition.

Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for you and/or your child.

The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network does not accept responsibility for inaccuracies or omissions, the interpretation of the information, or for success or appropriateness of any treatment described in the factsheet.

© Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network 2024