CHICAGO, Ill. – A futuristic innovation is changing the way doctors set broken bones.
A startup company called Cast21 has created a new type of cast that completely overhauls its plaster and fiberglass predecessors. It takes just minutes to put on and lets patients enjoy an active life, even allowing them to swim and shower with it.
A couple of weeks ago, 12-year-old Jett Karrick took a hard fall during a basketball game.
“He went over and stopped himself with his left hand and he ended up having a bicortical radius fracture,” said his father Tony.
A trip to the emergency room put him in a traditional fiberglass cast, but he was instantly unhappy.
“Was itching quite a bit,” said Karrick. “He didn't like the way it smelled, the whole drama associated with getting in the shower and the garbage bag.”
An internet search led the Karricks to the innovative new cast, a futuristic sleeve that's waterproof, lightweight and breathable.
“This product is completely waterproof. You can wash your hands, shower, jump into a hot tub, go to the beach, and it'll dry right off afterwards,” said Ashley Moy, CEO and co-founder of Cast21.
The company believes it could make smelly and itchy plaster casts a thing of the past.
The casts start with a flexible hollow net sleeve.
“So, we're going to be able to move your arm and whatever orientation we need to best keep the bones and fractures in place,” said Moy.
Then a proprietary liquid is pumped into the cast’s tubes.
“The liquid is going to take up any of the negative space that you had in there so that we can get a really acute and comfortable fit for you,” she said.
Within minutes, the cast hardens.
Earlier this week, Jett got his old cast removed and a Cast21 as a replacement.
“This cast just gives me a lot more freedom. It lets my hand breathe and it doesn't stink as bad.”
Nine-months into production and Cast21 is available in 13 states. While the Karrick family's insurance is covering the high-tech cast, costs can depend on the individual provider.
“Our process is also way more efficient to apply and remove,” said Moy. “It's about six times quicker to put on and it only takes seconds to remove.”
No saw is needed.
And while the immobilization net is currently only available for lower arm fractures, the company says they are currently in research and development on new sleeves for other limbs.