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(medicine), the act of rendering immovable an injured or painful part of the body, usually an extremity or the spinal column. In bone fractures immobilization prevents injury to vessels, nerves, and other tissues by movable pieces of bone and creates the conditions for their knitting.
When there are open bone fractures and infected wounds of soft tissues, immobilization is one of the methods of preventing and controlling infection. In injuries of the extremities (fractures, dislocations, diseases of the joints, and so on), immobilization is of great value in reducing pain and preventing shock. Immobilization is used in treating a number of diseases of the organs of motion—especially diseases of an inflammatory char acter and tuberculosis of the joints—and after operations in order to keep parts of the body in the necessary position. Good immobilization is assured by obligatory fixation of the two joints closest to the site of injury—for example, in an injury of the shin, the knee and talocrural joints are immobilized.
Temporary immobilization (or immobilization for transportation purposes) and permanent, or therapeutic, immobilization are distinguished. For transport immobilization when giving first aid, special splints are used; if they are not available, splints are made from sticks, boards, or bundles of straw. Therapeutic immobilization is effected by plaster casts and by traction by means of special compression-distraction apparatus, orthopedic corsets, and orthopedic apparatus. In operations for bone fractures, pieces of bone are also joined and immobilized by means of special pins, screws, and plates of stainless steel, titanium, and various alloys.
REFERENCESKaplan, A. V. Zakrytye povrezhdeniia kostei i sustavov. Moscow, 1956.
Khromov, B. M. Pervaiapomoshch’pri travmakh i transportirovkaposl-radavshikh.[Leningrad] 1969.
A. V. KAPLAN