Sugar-Tong Forearm Splinting Periprocedural Care

Updated: Jul 28, 2021
  • Author: Clifton G Meals, MD; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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Periprocedural Care

Preprocedural Planning

The patient must be assessed before the splint is applied. Sugar-tong splints cover the elbow, forearm, and wrist and may cause certain injuries (particularly to the skin) to be missed. Before a sugar-tong splint is applied, the entire limb from the shoulder to the fingertips should be examined for tenderness, bruising, and skin injury. A complete neurovascular examination should be performed before and after application of the splint.

Ultimately, the person applying the splint should be sure of the diagnosis, aware of all injuries to the affected limb, and familiar with the risks and benefits of splinting.

The splint and the splinting procedure should be explained to the patient.

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Equipment

Equipment used in sugar-tong splinting is as follows (see the image below):

  • Splint padding material in rolls (4-6)
  • 10-cm (4-in.) plaster in rolls (3 or 4)
  • Elastic roller bandages in rolls (2 or 3)
  • 2.5-cm (1-in.) tape (most varieties are effective)
  • Room-temperature water
  • Hospital gown
Sugar-tong forearm splinting. Splinting materials. Sugar-tong forearm splinting. Splinting materials.
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Patient Preparation

Anesthesia

Sugar-tong splinting itself is generally well tolerated without anesthesia. Anesthesia, however, is sometimes administered to patients requiring sugar-tong splinting in order to facilitate manipulation of broken bones.

Positioning

The patient should be supine or sitting upright on a hospital bed or stretcher. If possible, the patient’s bed should be adjusted to a height comfortable for the person applying the splint. The patient should be covered with a hospital gown to protect his or her clothes from plaster dust and drips. The patient should be asked to flex the elbow of the injured limb to 90°.

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