Army

FastCast™ immobilizing bone and soft tissue foam

Spray-on polyurethane foam offers a quick, one-step method to stabilize an injury

Medical & Biotechnology

Army photo

Traditional techniques for casting or splinting a fracture use a large heavy cast made from plaster-of-Paris, fiberglass, or polyurethane. While functional, there are many disadvantages including weight, a required pre-wrap, wetting the plaster, an uncomfortable heating reaction from the plaster activation, long drying time, and a difficulty in keeping the cast clean.

Splints, more common in field settings, can be difficult to align and offer less protection to the injury area. Air splints and malleable aluminum splints require a medic to move the fractured limb, which can cause pain and additional damage.

A new invention for immobilizing fractured bones is available to businesses who would license and commercialize.

Dr. Kevin Martin, an Army orthopedic surgeon, has developed and tested a new approach using fast-setting foam.

The polyurethane foam is sprayed directly onto the skin – no uncomfortable or unsanitary cotton wrapping needed. Therapeutic agents such as antibiotics, analgesics, or clotting compounds can be added to the foam.

Note that the fracture can be immobilized without being manipulated thereby decreasing the potential for secondary tissue injuries, bleeding, and infection. Also unique to this novel process: wounded areas can be left exposed through masking before the foam is applied.

In a comparative study between the foam and a malleable aluminum splint on a lower extremity fracture, the spray foam technique provided superior longitudinal traction and fracture site immobilization.

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