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rigid or semiflexible device for the immobilization of displaced or fractured parts of the body. Most commonly employed for fractures of bones, a splint may be a first-aid measure that allows the patient to be moved without displacing the injured part, or it may be a means of fixation to immobilize the bones until healing is complete. Any material that offers the degree of resistance required may be used for a temporary splint, e.g., cloth, gauze, plaster, or metal. Splints made of plastic and fiberglass are now molded to fit specific parts of the body. Air splints are made of rubber or plastic that can be blown up to effectively immobilize a limb.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a device for immobilizing injured parts of the body. A splint is applied to a fracture, sprain, or areas with extensive injury to soft tissues; it is also applied in cases of inflammatory diseases of the limbs, in cases of burns, and after surgery on bones, blood vessels, and nerves in the extremities. A distinction is made between transport and therapeutic splints.

Transport splints are applied as a first-aid remedy before the victim is transported to a medical facility. The purpose is to immobilize the injured part and prevent the development of traumatic shock or increased bleeding when bone fragments are moved. Standard transport splints are made of wood, of wire (several types measuring 75 to 100 cm in length and 6 to 10 cm in width are available), which easily conforms to the contour of the limb regardless of the site of the injury, or of plastic. There are also pneumatic and vacuum types. If standard splints are not available, immobilization during transport can be achieved by improvising splints from available materials, such as a board, a ski, a piece of plywood, or a stick. In applying a transport splint it is important that the two segments adjoining the injured one also be immobilized. For example, in the case of a shin fracture, the splint is secured to the foot, crus, and thigh by bandages; in the case of a shoulder fracture, it is applied to the forearm, shoulder, and chest. The splint should be padded with soft material to prevent ulcération.

Therapeutic splints are used for extended immobilization, for the length of time required for a fracture to heal. For example, metal splints are used in skeletal traction. In stomatology, splints made of wire or quick-hardening plastic, special appliances, or arches are used to immobilize the parts in fractures of the upper or lower jaw and after ostéoplastie surgery of the jaw.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A stiff or flexible material applied to an anatomical part in order to protect it, immobilize it, or restrict its motion.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. a rigid support for restricting movement of an injured part, esp a broken bone
2. Vet science inflammation of the small metatarsal or metacarpal bones along the side of the cannon bone of a horse
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
All were treated with the Thomas splint and as a result, the mortality rate fell to around 16%, with only 5% dying at casualty clearing stations.
It is, of course, too simple to say that this huge drop in the death rate was due solely to the adoption of the Thomas splint.
After initial resuscitation, her leg was immobilised on a Thomas splint complemented by an adhesive skin bandage on balanced traction and she was admitted for definitive surgery.
A retrograde intramedullary pinning along with schroeder-thomas splint or modified thomas splint for support was decided as choice of treatment.
Robert Jones' organisational skills were called upon again when he was appointed consultant orthopaedic surgeon to the army during the first world war He introduced the Thomas splint on the western front, where stretcher bearers were taught how to put them on blind-folded, so that they could splint men with severe lower limb injuries lying out in no man's land even in the dark.
However use of angulated frame along with Thomas splint was found to be effective as it maintains the limb length.
A bull was treated for rupture of Achilles tendon by applying Bunnell mayer suture pattern using 1.1 mm vetafil followed by immobilization for two months using modified Thomas splint. Animal has normal weight bearing after 8 months.
Then, fetlock flexion metal frame followed by Thomas splint were applied for whole limb immobilization (Fig.
In our clinical case, immobilization was obtained using a bandage with a modified Thomas splint with no complications.
Thomas splint and plaster cast combination has given fairly good results for fractures of the radius, ulna and tibia in cattle (Adams and Fessler, 1983 and Anderson et al., 1994).