Use of the Pneumatic Splint As a Compression Dressing

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THE pneumatic splint described by Gardner,1 and exhibited at The American Medical Association Convention in 1962, at the American College of Surgeons Convention in 1962, and at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery Convention in 1963, has been used by me as a compression dressing for the lower extremity after 26 knee operations. The procedures included meniscectomy (15 cases), synovectomy (7 cases), arthrotomy with loose-body removal (3 cases), and excision of a Baker's cyst (1 case).

The inflatable splint* used is a double-walled sleeve of transparent 0.002-in. plastic film. As air is forced in between the two layers, the inner layer compresses the limb while the outer layer, tending to elongate, exerts traction and a splinting effect. Since this device applies (to a single extremity) the principle of the aviation garment or G-suit, it is popularly referred to as the “G-splint.” It is designed to be inflated by mouth, and when so inflated it cannot impair the circulation of the limb.

This principle of air-pressure dressings has been under investigation for many years. It has required considerable expenditure of time and effort to develop a leak-proof collapsible valve, adaptable to the sheer material considered essential to safety in prolonged use.

The method of application in the 26 cases varied, but to date it appears most satisfactory to place Telfa* immediately over the wound, and then the sterile splint directly over the Telfa, or over bias-cut stockinette material wrapped over the Telfa. The splint is inflated by mouth just before the . . .



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