Asymptomatic Migration of a Kirschner Wire from the Proximal Aspect of the Humerus to the Thoracic Cavity: A Case Report

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A 78-year-old man presented with an open fracture of the proximal aspect of the humerus and an axillary artery laceration; the fracture was treated provisionally with Kirschner wires (K-wires). Forty-five days postoperatively, he presented with pin prominence at the lateral aspect of the arm, and was incidentally noted to have migration of a separate K-wire to the left lung. He underwent successful thoracotomy and lung wedge resection for wire removal.


K-wires used in the fixation of fractures of the proximal aspect of the humerus may migrate into the thoracic cavity. No modification of this technique, including the use of threaded, terminally bent, or external pins that are visibly secured, eliminates the potential for devastating complications.

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