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If you soak a fiber glass cast can you unravel it thereby removing it?  

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Tim Mbiti eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Fiberglass is some form of plastic that can be shaped. The casts from this material are lighter than the traditional plaster of Paris casts. Fiberglass is more durable and gives room for air circulation. The cast made of this material allows a doctor to take better x-rays when the cast is still on. Fiberglass will not dissolve when put in water because of its waterproof qualities however there is an inner padding that can get wet or remain dry when exposed to water. Doctors mostly use the padding that gets wet as standard procedure and also because of the type of fracture being treated. They can offer to place the water resistant type that allows one to take a bath in or swim with but this is the doctor’s decision given the type of fracture. It is not advisable to remove the cast yourself but if you are determined tin snips are your best option as they will prevent you from cutting yourself since the cut will be made along not right through (across).

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It is recommended that a medical professional remove a cast as first the cast may not be ready to come off and secondly you may hurt yourself in the process requiring more medical attention.  As plaster is more water resistant than a plaster cast it is not recommended that you try to soak it off with water as this will not work. If you do intend to remove the cast by yourself you will need the following items:

A second person

A pair of tin snipes


In order to remove the cast you will want to lay the extremity on a flat surface and the secondary person will want to use the tin snipes to cut from one open end of the cast to the other, being careful not to cut the skin.  You can then spilt the cast with your hands and remove it.

After you have cut through the fiberglass you will see cotton padding, use the scissors to cut the cotton padding off.

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ash621 | Student

Ok try cutting it as much as you can, ya gotta be able to get that top layer separated from the rest, you can use scissors look for a sweet spot, like the palm of the hand. Then ya just gotta pick at that top layer and start unraveling it, and repeat till its off.

sciencesolve | Student

Usually, the fiberglass cast is waterproof and it cannot be soaked to be removed. The only thing that can be soaked is the layer which is in contact with your skin that is called cast padding and whose role is to prevent the skin irritations caused by the fiberglass or plaster. If the inner layer, under the fiberglass shell, remains wet for a long time it can cause skin's infections and mold development.

The fiberglass removal is done by the healthcare provides with the help of an electrical small size saw which vibrates and it breaks through the fiberglass without injuring the skin.

mkcapen1 | Student

I do not recommend soaking the cast as it will just get sticky and uncomfortable inside.  Fiber glass does not unravel when soaked. 

I once had to get my cast off my leg.  I had to use a dremel with a tiny rounded saw blade.  The cast has some cotton underneath.  However, if you are not careful you can go in too far.

Casts have to be cut off.  If you can not get to the physician, I suggest that you wait until you can.  it is far better to keep the cast on too long than take it off and not have the break heals.  A physician may want to x-ray the bone to ensure proper healing.

My best advice:  Wait and see your doctor.