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Single-Leg Spica Cast Effective for Child Femoral Fractures

Last Updated: June 14, 2012.

For young children with diaphyseal femoral fractures, treatment with a single-leg spica cast is safe and effective, and facilitates patient care and function compared with double-leg spica casting, according to a study published online June 13 in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

THURSDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- For young children with diaphyseal femoral fractures, treatment with a single-leg spica cast is safe and effective, and facilitates patient care and function compared with double-leg spica casting, according to a study published online June 13 in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Dirk Leu, M.D., from the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a prospective, randomized controlled study involving 52 patients, aged 2 to 6 years, with a diaphyseal femoral fracture. Participants were randomly allocated to application of a single-leg (24 patients) or double-leg (28 patients) spica cast. Serial radiographs were assessed, and following cast removal, the ease of care and function during treatment was evaluated using the performance version of the Activities Scale for Kids questionnaire and a custom-written survey.

The researchers found that all the limbs healed in satisfactory alignment, with no major complications. Children who were treated with a single-leg spica cast fit more comfortably into chairs and were more likely to fit into car seats (P < 0.05 for both). Significantly less time was taken off work by caregivers of patients treated with a single-leg cast.

"In conclusion, single-leg spica casting can be used safely and effectively for patients 2 to 6 years old," the authors write. "Compared with double-leg spica casting, single-leg casting facilitates patient care and may result in improved child function during the cast treatment period."

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