A Korean company has developed a new cast for broken limbs, called Open Cast, which allows the skin to breathe and permits the wearer to take showers without hassle while the bone heals.
The mesh material is known as thermal plastic, and it can mold to the shape of a person’s arm or leg, leaving holes about a centimeter wide. For instance, a rigid arm case could be formed from two halves, then attached with simple plastic ties. The cast is easily removed in just seconds by cutting the plastic ties.
To fit the cast, the thermal plastic must be heated in an oven or water bath at a temperature of 80 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. The patient then wears a skin protector, known as a stocknet, while the plastic is molded around the form of the limb that needs stabilizing.
Useable for an abdominal brace or a splint
A special, smooth material on the interior of the cast stays cooler than the outside, so the patient will not get burned.
Patient trials are expected to begin in 2015, according to JC Jongchil Park, president of Woori Material.
Park, who showcased his invention for the first time at the FIME show in Miami August 5-7, also demonstrated how the mesh could be used to form an abdominal brace or a splint.
He said he owns five patents on the material that he hopes will change the way broken bones are treated and will alleviate the itching and discomfort associated with traditional casts made of plaster or plastic, the standard materials used in casts since the 1970s. “This is the 21st century. We need a different way,” he told MedicalExpo.
Park explained that the Open Cast will likely cost two or three times that of traditional casts – but would still only range between $18-20.
The company plans to apply for European and US FDA approval by the end of 2015.