BETiC innovator develops hybrid plaster splint to prevent disability

ST CORRESPONDENT
Monday, 9 December 2019

“Hence, doctors use a splint, essentially a half-cast, to accommodate tissue volume changes due to swelling and subsiding, after which a full plaster cast is applied. The splints available in the market were either ineffective or expensive. So, I developed an alternative design using paper as the base material, stacking it with plaster rolls, enclosing both in a fabric envelope, and attaching Velcro straps,” said Sanas.

Pune: Mayur Sanas, innovator from Biomedical Engineering and Technology Incubation Centre (BETiC) from IIT Bombay has developed FractoAid, a hybrid plaster splint to prevent disability after a severe accident. 

In India, 10 to 30 per cent of hospital registrations are due to road traffic injuries and a majority of these people tend to develop varying levels of disabilities. 

Sanas wanted to find a solution. A native of a small village in Satara district of Maharashtra, he joined an engineering college in Kolhapur. 

Sanas explained that the tendency of a fracture to cause swelling during the first few days, prevents a full plaster cast from being applied to immobilise the limb.

“Hence, doctors use a splint, essentially a half-cast, to accommodate tissue volume changes due to swelling and subsiding, after which a full plaster cast is applied. The splints available in the market were either ineffective or expensive. So, I developed an alternative design using paper as the base material, stacking it with plaster rolls, enclosing both in a fabric envelope, and attaching Velcro straps,” said Sanas.

The split is dipped in water, placed at the fractured area, gently pressed to give it the desired shape, and tied up with the straps. It dries within a few minutes, giving ample support to the fracture site. The material allows the skin to breathe.
 
Sanas added that this innovation is important because a majority of victims of road traffic injuries are men in the peak working age group of 15 to 44 years and belong to the poorer sections of society. 
B Ravi, founder of BETiC - Biomedical Engineering and Technology Incubation Centre of IIT Bombay, who has mentored Mayur explained that the challenge was to select the right type and thickness of paper and other required materials, so that the desired strength could be achieved with the least possible weight.

“The product has developed 6 variants up to date, suitable for different age groups, that is, a small size splint for individuals between 6-10 years of age, a medium size splint for individuals between 11-21 years of age and a large one for individuals above 21 years of age,” said Ravi.

He said the low cost accessible medical devices are a priority for BETiC.

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