Authors of section

Authors

Andrew Howard, Theddy Slongo, Peter Schmittenbecher

Executive Editor

James Hunter

General Editor

Fergal Monsell

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Immobilization with a splint

1. Principles

General considerations

Proximal forearm fractures require immobilization with a splint to control forearm rotation and therefore decrease the risk of displacement.

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Pediatric considerations

Simple application of a splint is performed without sedation in older children and in compliant younger children.

The environment should be one in which the child and the parents/carers are comfortable.

Important considerations include:

  • A child-sensitive approach
  • A child-friendly clinical area
  • Careful explanation of the procedure, in language that is understood by the child and the parents/carers
  • Availability of all equipment and material

When a procedure including manipulation is required, general anesthesia or conscious sedation is usually necessary.

2. Preparation for splint application

Equipment

  • Examination couch
  • Tubular bandage (40-80 mm wide, depending on the size of the child)
  • 2-4 rolls of padding (40-150 mm wide, depending on the size of the child)
  • 2-8 plaster of Paris (POP) or synthetic fiberglass bandages (40-150 mm wide, depending on the size of the child)
  • Bucket with cold water
  • Protective aprons for the team members and the child

Pearl: Finger traps

Holding the arm using finger traps as illustrated allows easy manipulation, reduction, imaging, and mobilization for a surgeon working without an assistant.

To avoid damage to the skin of the fingers ensure that the pressure is evenly distributed, and that prolonged or excessive force is avoided.

immobilization with a cast

3. Splint application

Application of cast padding

Hold the elbow in 90° flexion and the forearm in neutral rotation.

Wrap cast padding around the upper arm, elbow, forearm and hand, as far as the transverse flexor crease of the palm (the MP joints are left free). According to surgeon’s preference a tubular bandage may be applied to the arm beneath the padding.

Make sure that the epicondyles of the humerus and the antecubital area are well padded.

immobilization with a splint

Application of splint

Apply a splint of fiberglass, or plaster, on the posterior aspect of the arm and forearm. It should be wide enough to cover more than half the circumference of the arm and forearm.

immobilization with a splint

Secure the splint with a noncompressive bandage.

Ensure that this is not tight, to accommodate subsequent swelling.

Splint immobilization - Splint application

Sling

The injured arm and splint are supported with a sling.

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