Lighter, more breathable, water-friendly cast for some broken bones

Thursday, August 27, 2015
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A doctor at Nemours A.I. DuPont hospital says a new type of cast gives her another option to use on kids, especially during the summer.

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- Some doctors in our area are now using a new type of cast.

It is lighter, more breathable and swim-friendly.

It's called OsteoFX. It's not for all fractures.

However, a doctor at Nemours A.I. DuPont hospital says it gives her another option to use, especially for kids during the summer.

Four-year-old Brayden Green was playing with his cousins -

"I was hanging on his arm and he shake me off," Brayden recalled.

And that's how he broke his arm, for the second time this summer.

After the first time, his mother says he was in a conventional cast, which he couldn't get wet at all.

But the new OsteoFx cast is lighter and can get wet.

"In the summer he can go to the pools, so he can go swimming," says Brayden's mother, Elizabeth Green.

"He can take baths without having to keep his arm up or elevated out of the water," she adds.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Reid Nichols says OsteoFx is only for stable fractures, ones where the bones aren't too far out of place.

But it has advantages over plaster casts and fiberglass.

Depending on the material underneath, fiberglass can also get wet, but drying takes more time than with this newer material.

"The difference is that fiberglass is layered on each other so it's not porous. It doesn't just drip dry and that's the cool thing about this material," says Dr. Nichols.

And for a long cast like Brayden has, she feels it's a better option, because water won't get trapped at the elbow.

That could lead to skin breakdown.

Unlike other material which is rolled on, the OsteoFx is stretched and placed over the injury.

Which may be faster in some cases, but, again, it's not for all fractures-

"Anything that is too tender, I would want to roll that on," says the doctor.

For Brayden, Dr. Nichols says it was the best option to keep him safe, allow his bone to heal, but not take away from his fun.

"It really helped us to still have a summer," remarked Brayden's relieved mom.

The new cast is distributed by a company based in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.

Right now, it's only being at a handful of hospitals.

By the way, like others casts, it does come in different colors.