Saturday, April 15, 2006

More Doctors Shunning Cumbersome Casts

From the AP Wire, as posted to

Once almost a childhood rite of passage, plaster or fiberglass casts were the method of choice for fixing broken bones. But now, doctors around the world are increasingly shunning cumbersome casts in favor of more cutting-edge options for both kids and adults: splints, special boots, metal plates, rods and screws.

For Ben Crotty's broken wrist, it was a removable splint.

The trend is most common among adults, who often develop swelling and pain and sometimes permanent stiffness. "We often refer to this as 'cast disease.' I say, 'Good riddance!'" said Dr. John Fernandez, an orthopedic surgeon at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Support for the modern technique on kids was bolstered by a Canadian study last month in the journal Pediatrics. It showed that in children aged 6 to 15 with wrist fractures like Ben's, those who wore removable splints for three weeks had better physical function during treatment and afterward than those treated with plaster casts.


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