New Cast is Waterproof, Breathable, and Totally Itch-Free

You can say goodbye to the plaster cast.

Dec 8, 2019

Anyone who is a parent of an active child or was an active child knows that broken bones come with the territory. Getting a plaster cast might be pretty cool at first. Friends get to sign it and it looks pretty cool at first.

But later, plaster casts get pretty uncomfortable. They start to smell kind of gross and scratching under them is extremely difficult, bathing requires being wrapped in plastic, and swimming is completely off limits. The worst part is seeing and hearing the cast being sawed off when the bone has healed. Unless, you could get a lightweight, breathable alternative cast.

That may soon be a reality for kids, and grown-up kids, around the word. That's because a Chicago, Illinois startup called Cast21 has come up with an alternative to the traditional plaster cast that can be worn anywhere, even into a swimming pool.  

Veronica Hogg, Cast21's vice president of engineering, told the Daily Mail, 'We have this radical notion that you can enjoy your healing experience. You don't need to be restrained from daily activities."

It is really easy to cast a distal radius wrist fracture (others will follow) with Cast21s new method. First, a unique wide mesh sleeve is slipped onto the patient's wrist and is filled with a patented mixture of liquid resins that quickly – only about three minutes – harden into shape. According to the designers, this will promote healing in a much more pleasant manner.

This new cast will be available in a variety of bright colors to suit any child's taste, you can scratch it and best of all, it doesn't have to be sawed off. Since most fractures occur in children or the elderly, this is a very big deal.

"Those saws are very loud, and all this debris flies off and it's very messy, it can be extremely frightening. The cast saw also presents a risk of burns to the patient,' said Hogg.

"Our product does not require that at all. It's designed so that a physician can take clinical shears, snip through the tabs and pull it open easily. It was designed to completely eliminate the use of a cast saw and make the healing process far more pleasant for the patient."

While this new breakthrough seems like it will be a huge success, it is still a work in progress and not available for use yet. Cast21 sees the potential for this very portable device to be used by medics in the military or carried in first aid kits.

Hogg said, “We want it to be competitive, and reachable to a large population. We don’t want this to be a luxury product. We are still conducting research in price sensitivity, and the final cost to the patients will be depending on their insurance and doctor."

There already have been 3D printed casts, prosthetics,  and even 3D printed bones but this method takes much longer and is not portable.

Hopefully, this innovative new cast will be available for other broken bones too and will be coming to a hospital, doctor's office, or medic's kit near you soon.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.