Extremity Immobilization

Most fractures encountered in the field are splinted for the patient's comfort and ease of transport. Air splints, or circumferential bladders that are inflated by mouth, are adequate for most distal fractures of the upper and lower extremities. In hot weather, air splints can be difficult to remove when they stick to the skin. An air splint with a zipper and powder on the inside is easier to remove. The MAST garment can function as an air splint for one or both lower extremities. Other splinting possibilities include simple sling and swathe, tying the legs together with cravats to splint one injured leg with the other normal one, or using a pillow wrapped around an extremity and secured with tape. A pillow splint is comfortable and secure for the patient either out-of-hospital or in the emergency department. Other splints are available on the market, such as vacuum splints, but add cost with perhaps no clear-cut advantages over older cheaper splinting methods.

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