Medical devices

Cast – Application & Health Benefits


cast is a sedative bandage used as an alternative to regular plaster casts. It is also referred to as a cast bandage or plastic plaster.

What is a cast?

Casts, like plaster casts, are also used to treat broken bones .

Sometimes plaster bandages are combined with cast bandages.

Shapes, Species & Types

A cast bandage usually consists of a stretchable carrier fabric. This carrier fabric is made of glass fibers or polyester. The stretchable carrier fabric is coated with a plastic resin for stability. By immersing it in water, this plastic resin is activated and hardens. The hardening varies depending on the water temperature and the immersion time. The colder the water, the less time there is for modelling.

In another variant, the cast bandage can also be applied dry. To do this, the stretchable base material is wrapped around the affected extremity. The plastic resin coating is then activated by misting with water. Usually casts are cured within half an hour. A fully cured cast bandage is also fully resilient.

In the case of conservative fracture treatment, the patient is usually initially fitted with a conventional plaster cast. These conventional plaster of paris casts allow longitudinal splitting immediately after setting. This allows the affected extremity to swell further. This would not be possible with the circular cast bandage. Only when the extremity has gone down again can a cast bandage be applied. Therefore, they are sometimes also referred to as secondary associations .

Structure & functionality

The cast bandage is applied to the affected extremity. It is then used to mechanically fix the broken bone. As a rule, cast bandages are used primarily for uncomplicated and stable fractures. Before applying the bandage, the fracture must first be brought back into its anatomical position. This process is also known as reduction.

The bandage then serves to stabilize and immobilize the affected extremity. The cast is intended to give the body the opportunity for tissue healing and rehabilitation. The bandage restricts movements that would not aid healing. This is the only way for new bone to form .

Cast and plaster bandages are often used in children. Typical fractures treated with casts are fractures of the forearm, radius , scaphoid of the hand, lower leg fractures in children, uncomplicated lateral malleolus fractures and metatarsal and tarsal fractures. In the case of fractures that are treated surgically, casts are usually used for temporary immobilization before the operation. They can also be used postoperatively.

Medical & health benefits

Casts offer some advantages over plaster casts. For example, they weigh significantly less than plaster bandages. In particular, bandages that patients have to wear for a long time can be a burden due to their heavy weight and delay healing.

Despite the low weight, the casts have a higher strength. They also harden faster than plaster casts. In this way, full resilience can be achieved very early on. Plaster casts are sensitive to water. Casts are impervious to water. There is also a special upholstery and lining material that allows you to shower or bathe with the cast. The cast bandages are available in many colors and even with a printed motif. This promotes acceptance, especially among children.

But cast associations not only have advantages. They are significantly more expensive than plaster bandages. The higher costs are usually too high for bandages that have to be renewed frequently. Casts are also expensive for bandages that are only worn for a few days. The cast bandages are also not very permeable to water vapor or air. Patients therefore sweat more under this bandage.

Due to the rough surface of the bandages, there is also a risk that clothing will be damaged. The disposal of the cast bandages is also more problematic. There is also the suspicion that the cast bandages may contain allergenic substances.

In terms of medical effectiveness, there are no real differences between the two types of plaster. So the complications of the cast bandages are the same as with plaster bandages. Insufficient padding can lead to pressure sores .

If the casts are applied too tightly or the affected extremity subsequently swells, the blood circulation may be completely or partially disrupted. If this circulatory disorder is not recognized, a Volkmann contracture could result. In a Volkmann contracture, the muscles of the forearm are shortened due to a lack of blood flow. Nerves can also be damaged by insufficient blood flow. What is known as a clawed hand is typical of Volkmann’s contracture .

The pressure of the upper edge of a lower leg cast on the fibula head can also lead to pressure damage to nerves. Peroneal paralysis is typical . Long periods of immobilization can also lead to muscle atrophy . Deep vein thrombosis is also a known risk of therapies that involve prolonged immobilization. A feared consequence of deep vein thrombosis is the life-threatening pulmonary embolism .

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.