Sugar-Tong Forearm Splinting

Updated: Oct 04, 2015
  • Author: Clifton G Meals, MD; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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Overview

Background

Splints are used to prevent motion of injured body parts. Unlike casts, splints are not circumferential and are slightly flexible. This allows splints to expand and accommodate swelling. Splints are often used immediately after an injury and exchanged later for a more rigid cast. [1, 2]

Sugar-tong splints are used to stabilize injuries of the forearm and wrist by preventing forearm rotation and wrist motion. [3] These splints may be used to maintain alignment of broken bones or to protect a patient’s forearm or wrist after surgery. Sugar-tong splints are long and U-shaped, not unlike a utensil used to pick up sugar cubes.

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Indications

Indications for sugar-tong splints are as follows [1, 2] :

  • Initial treatment of distal radius fractures [4]
  • Initial treatment of isolated radius or ulna fractures
  • Initial treatment of fractures of the shafts of both the radius and ulna (“both-bone” fractures) [4]
  • Postoperative protection of the forearm or wrist
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Contraindications

The risks and limitations of sugar-tong splinting should be considered before the splint is applied. There are no specific contraindications to sugar-tong splinting.

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