plaster cast-offs

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Alex in Doncaster writes:

Like most boys at a younger age I enjoyed such hobbies as climbing trees, making rope swings and generally running around. On occasions, this led to the odd injury including broken bones, which heal when placed in a plastic/fibre glass cast. Many years later it is a good thing that I haven’t been injured in a while but I do have a faint memory of having casts removed – this included the use a type of circular saw to cut through the plaster.

This seems a little over the top to me now, but obviously I would have just accepted it as a child. However, answer me this – did/do they use a circular saw to remove casts, or is it some kind of phantom memory my brain has created?

If I haven’t made it up then how can it be that this does not generally result in loss of limbs etc??? Maybe there is a safety device to stop this or maybe it relies on supreme skill from the people doing it (seems hugely unlikely!!)? Finally is there any documented time when this has gone horribly wrong??

Readers, I turn to you for the answer, as I am not somebody who has ever worn a plaster cast/removed a plaster cast/sliced off someone’s arm whilst trying to remove a plaster cast.

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3 Responses to “plaster cast-offs”

  1. Sebastian Cuttlefish Says:

    What Martin says – it is an oscillating saw that doesn’t cut flesh. When I was a medical student the plaster technicians had great fun pretending to slip when using the saw and feigning injury. Saw a few do this, must be a favourite past time of theirs…

  2. jarthurstormer Says:

    That’s pretty cool, but the depth of a spinning (is there any other kind?) circular saw can easily be controlled. You could easily set the guard to cut no deeper than, say, a quarter inch (I believe that’s the equivalent of six degrees celsius), but then you’d be stuck cutting all that padding with scissors.

  3. Martin Says:

    Yes, it’s a circular saw, in that the saw blade is round. But it’s not a rotating circular saw – it’s a oscillating circular saw – i.e. it doesn’t spin round and round, but vibrates back and forth a little bit. Because your skin is not solid, it just wobbles with the saw if the blade touches your skin, but the plaster is solid and doesn’t move, so it gets cut.

    You can buy them in any DIY store these days.

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