- How a Cast Saw Works.
Cast saws have a sharp, small-toothed blade that rapidly vibrates back and forth; it does not spin around like a circular saw. Against the firm surface of the plaster or fiberglass, the cast saw will cut through the material. However, against your skin, the cast saw simply moves the skin back and forth with the vibration, not cutting into the skin.
Newer cast saws have become even easier for patients to tolerate. The most significant difference is the noise coming from the motor of the saw. Older cast saws tend to have very noisy motors that can be frightening, especially for children. Newer saws have much quieter motors that cause much less anxiety for patients.
- Are Cast Saws Safe?
Cast saws are very safe, but they should only be used by personnel who have been trained in their proper use and how to avoid problems. Improper use of a cast saw, or use of a cast saw that has worn blades, can cause problems. Cast saws are safe, but there are possible complications of their use that can occur.
- Making It Easier to Remove the Cast.
Many patients, especially younger children, are frightened of cast saws, but there are some things that can be done to make the experience less traumatic.
Explain to kids what is happening. Don’t let the doctor or cast tech rush in and start removing the cast without showing the patient the equipment and how it works. Fear of the unknown is usually much worse than the fear of the saw.
Show the patient that the saw will not cut the skin. Skin lacerations are the most common fear, and demonstrating that the saw will not cut your skin can help. I always press the blade of the running cast saw against my hand to demonstrate that it’s safe.
Bring headphones. A cast saw can be noisy, and often the noise is more upsetting than the actual feeling of the saw. Earmuffs, headphones, or a noise-canceling device can help. Often kids will enjoy listening to music while the cast is being removed.