Before delving into the topic of types of immobilizers for fractures, it’s important to clarify that immobilization techniques are mainly used in two situations:
Immobilization techniques should never be taken lightly. In any circumstance, no matter how alarming it may be, it is necessary to assess the current health status of the person and carefully evaluate the indications and contraindications before applying any procedure.
What are immobilization techniques and what are they used for?
Immobilization techniques such as casts, splints, and bandages are commonly used to reduce or limit the movement of the affected body structure, in order to stabilize the injury and prevent further damage.
There is a variety of techniques for immobilization, ranging from compressive bandages and cervical collars to procedures that achieve rigid immobilization, such as casts or splints.
The goal of immobilization is to restrict the mobility of the injured part for a specific period of time, allowing internal damage to heal progressively.
Types of immobilizers for fractures
An injury or fracture can occur in any part of the body, and the type of immobilizer used varies depending on the location. Here are some examples:
Cervical Collar (Cervical Orthopedic Collar)
When a possible neck fracture is suspected, it is essential to immobilize the cervical area for several weeks to allow the fractured vertebrae to heal properly. However, before placing the cervical collar, it is necessary to rule out any injuries, close any open wounds, and find the correct position to secure the orthopedic collar.
Spinal Immobilization (Kendrick Extrication Device)
The Kendrick Extrication Device (KED), also known as the Kendrick vest or extraction vest, is an immobilization tool used for people who have been involved in traffic or industrial accidents and need to be extracted from a vehicle or confined space. In most cases, the KED is used in conjunction with the cervical collar to provide more stability to the neck.
The Kendrick vest immobilizes the head, back, shoulders, and torso in a semi-rigid position while the patient is transported to a healthcare center.
Limb Immobilization with Splints
Splints are commonly used external devices when treating a fracture. They help keep the bones and joints in their proper position to facilitate healing after the injury.
For example, when a fracture occurs in the humeral shaft, it should be immobilized with a U-shaped splint that maintains the elbow at a 90° angle.
Among the most common types of immobilizers for fractures is the cast. Similar to a splint, a cast is used to keep the fractured limb completely straight and immobilized. Proper cast application requires the expertise of trained personnel, as a series of steps must be followed to secure and adapt it correctly.
Splinting involves using makeshift methods to stabilize the injured body part while the person awaits medical assistance. Splinting not only immobilizes the fracture but also protects it from further damage and helps reduce pain.
When using a makeshift splint as a first aid measure, it is important to consider factors such as how it will be positioned, the ideal position for the injured limb, which rigid objects will be used for splinting, and how much pressure should be applied to avoid interrupting circulation. After successfully immobilizing the injury with a splint, make sure to seek immediate medical attention.
Considerations when immobilizing a fracture
It is recommended that fracture immobilizations be carried out by qualified medical personnel in order to prevent further damage to the injury. Under no circumstances should an inexperienced person attempt to change the position of a fracture or try to align it without the necessary knowledge.
If a temporary splint is used, care must be taken to avoid applying excessive pressure on the injury to prevent blocking blood flow. If the intensity of pain increases after splinting the area, immediately remove the device and seek medical attention.