Plaster Casts (Plaster of Paris, POP)

Last updated 18.03.13

 

Definition

-  Type of splint used to immobilse a limb

 

Features

-  Anhydrous calcium sulphate

-  Exothermic reaction when hydrated

-  Should be completely wet to optimise reaction

-  May be applied as a slab or a roll

 

Equipment

-  Wool Roll/Velband

-  Plaster of paris

-  Scissors

-  Water & bucket

-  Too cold: long time to set, stronger

-  Too hot: too quick to set, weaker

-  +/- Stockinet

-  Protective drapes

-  Gloves

 

Types

-  Raidal Thumb Spica Slab

-  3/4 Radial Slab

-  Gutter Slab

-  Colles Slab

-  Volar Slab

-  Scaphoid Slab

-  Short Arm Cast

-  Half Mitchells Toe Spike Slab

-  Short Leg Back Slab

-  Short Leg Back Slab w Toe Platform

-  Long Leg Backslab

 

Procedure

-  Determine type of plaster to apply

-  Protection of skin: Wool roll +/- Stockinet

-  Prevent catching hair in plaster

-  Fascilitate perspiration of limb

-  Remove rough edges of plaster

-  Allow some degree of swelling

-  +/- felt over bony prominences

-  Slab Method

-  Measure length of plaster required

-  Fold plaster into required lengths

-  6 layers for children

-  8-10 layers for adults (1-2 slabs)

-  Apply dry plaster to limb & trim to fit

-  Position limb as appropriate

-  +/- neutral hand position

-  Immerse POP completely in water

-  Pull off extra water manually

-  Apply slab or roll on wet roll of POP over padding

-  Smooth plaster to assist removing air bubbles

-  +/- application of roll of crepe bandage to  maintain position

-  Maintain position without movement until set

-  POP is set when

-  Warm

-  Solid

-  Tapping produces hollow sound

 

 

Patient Advice

-  Elevate limb in cast +/- sling

-  Exercise limb whilst in cast: fingers, toes, surrounding joints

-  Keep POP dry

-  Showering: towel around cast + +plastic bag + double tape

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

WHO POP: http://www.steinergraphics.com/surgical/006_17.2.html