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Monday, June 20, 2011

WATER PROOF CAST?


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS from the HAND CENTER OF WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS

CAN I HAVE A WATERPROOF CAST?
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?








   


With certain fractures
A water proof cast may be an option.

IF YOU WANT A WATER PROOF CAST AND THE DOCTOR STATES YOU CAN HAVE ONE
----IT IS YOUR DECISION

Most insurance companies DO NOT see fit to reimburse our office for the significant extra cost for the materials used in preparing a waterproof cast.

BE AWARE that there is an additional charge for a waterproof cast payable at the time of service.

This charge may change with the cast size but there is a minimal starting charge.

If you think about it…if you have to come back in because you soaked your cast and it can’t dry, or if your cast gets so dirty that its an issue for you, you will need to pay another co-pay and the insurance company  or you pay for another cast.. SO for many it makes good sense to either do a good job protecting their cast from the outset or getting a waterproof cast right away. -----IT IS YOUR DECISION!

 
You can have a non-waterproof cast and protect it.  Non waterproof casts cannot get routinely wet or washed.  If it gets wet by accident typically we tell you to let the cast air dry or use a hairdryer on a cool setting.  But the cast is not designed to get wet repeatedly. NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THIS OPTION. IT’S WHAT MOST PEOPLE HAVE DONE AND CONTINUE TO DO

A non waterproof cast and a plastic newspaper bag, bread bag, or a grocery bag can work well too. WE DO NOT ROUTINELY CHANGE a cast if it just gets some water on it.

Cast covers can be purchased at surgical supply stores or online

Commercial waterproof cast covers at www.drycorp.com with online prices
Short arm covers at $35.95 – $37.95
Long arm covers at $35.95 – $39.95
You can also go to a surgical supply store. Local storesin Western Massachusetts include:
Agawam medical supply 413 789 1100
Footit Surgical-West Springfield 413-733-7843
Mass Surgical supply-Holyoke 413-532-1401

Prices from a recent round of phone calls ranged from 32-40 dollars
There are other cast covers out there too such as seal tight which we were quoted as $33.99

Other covers such as ARMRX are in the 8-12 dollar range but these are thinner and some of our patients have come back and told us that these were no better than the plastic bag and tape method
.  To swim and more successfully  keep dry we have found you need to use a more expensive type. But your cast may still get too wet if it leaks/tears no matter what you pay for the cover.  In general a plastic bag and tape does not work for swimming.

-----IT IS YOUR DECISION

With a waterproof cast you can WASH YOUR ARM with water and squirt liquid soap down the cast and RINSE IT OUT.

WITH A SHOWER/SWIM cover or bag you cannot wash your cast/arm

The text of the mmodified HAND OUT WE USE IN OUR OFFICE FOR 3M™ Scotchcast™Wet or Dry Cast Padding  is below:


A new cast is awkward. You probably feel limited in what you can do with it. Luckily, your physician has fitted you with different kind of cast, constructed of the most innovative casting materials available, and designed with your comfort in mind. Your cast is made of a synthetic water-repellent padding material (3M™ Scotchcast™Wet or Dry Cast Padding), and a fiberglass outer shell designed so that you may get your cast wet, if your physician allows. The outer part is fiberglass which means that the cast is light, strong and water resistant. The combination of these materials allows you to shower or bathe without having to wrap the cast in a waterproof cast cover, if you follow the cast care instructions listed below. You must carefully follow your physician’s instructions if your cast treatment is to be successful. The following are general guidelines only. These guidelines should not be a substitute for your physician’s advice

Cast Care —Wet Use
• If your physician permits you to get your cast wet, you must allow the cast and your skin to dry thoroughly before getting the cast wet again.
• If you experience maceration (i.e., softened, white or wrinkled skin), skin irritation, heat rash or pain, do not get the cast wet.
• Drying time for casts will vary. In some cases, weather conditions, perspiration will prevent the cast from drying completely. Most casts will feel comfortably dry in one to three hours. If your cast feels wet longer, stop getting the cast wet.
• Parents or guardians of young children should monitor the condition of the cast and skin under the cast after the child has gotten the cast wet. If the cast is not drying, do not allow the child to get the cast wet again.
• If a blow dryer is used to aid in drying your cast, use only on a cool setting.
• Gravity causes the water to drain from the cast. If your cast is wet, it is important to position your cast so that water will drain out. .  Hang your arm downward and drain from end of cast.  The material will not absorb water and it will drain to the lowest point. If the cast will not drain, or you cannot position yourself to drain the cast do not get the cast wet again.

• Avoid swimming in natural bodies of water (lakes, rivers or oceans). Waterborne parasites or contaminants entering your cast may cause skin irritation or other problems.
• Ensure that you rinse out the cast thoroughly with clean water after swimming, showering or bathing.
• For your safety when swimming, deep water should be avoided.

General Cast Care —Wet or Dry Use
• Move your fingers frequently to prevent swelling and joint stiffness.
• If your cast becomes soiled on the outside, clean it with a damp cloth and a small amount of mild detergent.
• Do NOT stuff cotton or toilet tissue under your cast, since it may fall into the cast, or decrease your circulation and cause serious medical problems. Do not pull out the cast padding.
• Do NOT break off rough edges or trim your cast before consulting your physician. (Rough edges can be reduced with light filing with a nail file.)
• Do NOT expose the inside of your cast to dirt,
sand or powder.
• Do NOT scratch under your cast with anything. This may break the skin and cause infection.
• Do NOT remove your cast yourself.

Although an old invention, casts are still the most common way of treating broken bones and several other injuries. A key to the effectiveness of you cast is good cast care.

Contact your physician if you
experience any of the following:
• If your cast feels too snug or tight. NOTE: swelling around the injury is common and can cause a cast to feel tight for the first 48 hours.
• If your cast does not dry.
• If you have continued coldness or discoloration of your casted limb.
• Any pain, numbness or continued tingling of your casted fingers or toes.
• If your skin becomes red, raw or emits a bad odor.
• If your cast has cracks, soft spots or becomes loose.

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