Immobilization Techniques

Immobilization is indicated not only for fractures but also for dislocated joints that have been reduced. When a joint becomes dislocated, the ligaments that had provided it with stability are disrupted, and the joint is susceptible to redislocation until healing has occurred.

Whether plaster or fiberglass is used in the dressing depends on a number of factors, including the emergency physician's preference, the philosophy of the orthopedic community, the needs of the patient, and the hospital's resources. Fiberglass has the advantages of being lightweight, fast setting, and resistant to damage by moisture (although most splint dressings contain additional bandaging materials that need to be kept dry). Ultimately, the physician should use the material he or she is most comfortable with and can use most skillfully with best results.

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