splint, rigid or semiflexible device for the immobilization of displaced or fractured parts of the body. Most commonly employed for fractures of bones, a splint may be a first-aid measure that allows the patient to be moved without displacing the injured part, or it may be a means of fixation to immobilize the bones until healing is complete. Any material that offers the degree of resistance required may be used for a temporary splint, e.g., cloth, gauze, plaster, or metal. Splints made of plastic and fiberglass are now molded to fit specific parts of the body. Air splints are made of rubber or plastic that can be blown up to effectively immobilize a limb.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.