A REVOLUTIONARY new cast that is waterproof, breathable and itch-free is being debuted in the USA.
Scientists have designed a futuristic sleeve that could see foul-smelling, itchy and uncomfortable plaster casts become a thing of the past.
American startup Cast21 has created the waterproof, lightweight and breathable alternative that can be worn to bathe, exercise and even swim in the ocean.
The patented design is constructed from a wide mesh sleeve filled with two liquid resins, which are molded into the correct position for each patient.
The new orthotic device has a sci-fi look and even comes in a range of vibrant colours.
Patients sporting traditional plaster or fiberglass casts are unable to clean underneath, making the skin susceptible to rot and infection.
When it is time to remove the hardened bandages wearers are forced to watch a doctor remove their casts using a circular saw.
Veronica Hogg, 30, Cast21’s VP of engineering, said: ‘The majority of fractures happen in children, adolescents and the elderly.
‘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.
‘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.’
Chicago-based Cast21’s device is also faster to administer than traditional casts. Physicians start by measuring the damaged limb using a flexible measuring tape.
Once they’ve selected the correct size they slide a flexible, slightly padded, sleeve onto their patient’s arm.
Using a patented liquid pack, the physician then mixes a duo of liquid resins and pours them into the empty sleeve using a valved nozzle.
After the sleeve is full it takes three minutes for the liquid to turn into a malleable gel.
The doctor then moulds the product to fit the patient’s limb, and waits an additional five to seven minutes for it to completely harden.
Essentially, Cast21 has turned the messy and time consuming cast setting process into a less-than-ten minute procedure.
While the company hopes to make a splash in the field of orthopedic technology, the innovation is still a work in progress.
So far the company only has a forearm model designed in a medium size, but they hope to expand their sizing and create casts for the lower legs in the near future.
Veronica added: ‘We hope that this technology can span across the entire body. We are looking forward to having a lower limb model for ankle fractures soon.
‘We have this radical notion that you can enjoy your healing experience. You don’t need to be restrained from daily activities.’
There is currently no price point associated with Cast21’s product, but the aim is to make it as accessible as possible and not a ‘luxury item’.
‘We want it to be competitive, and reachable to a large population,’ Veronica added.