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What Is a SAM® Splint?

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  • Written By: Amanda Barnhart
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 08 July 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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The Structural Aluminum Malleable (SAM®) splint is a compact, portable type of splint often used by emergency medical responders, sports injury professionals, and others who require a device to quickly splint an injury outside of a medical setting. The splint features a thin piece of aluminum between two pieces of lightweight foam. When the SAM® splint is unrolled, it can be cut to size and bent around any limb in a curved manner to immobilize the injury until the patient can get medical attention.

Even though the SAM® splint can be cut to various sizes, it is available in predetermined sizes for certain body parts or types of people. A smaller splint is available for children and petite individuals, and a bigger model is available for larger patients. Small precut splints for the wrist or fingers are also available and are often used for minor sports injuries.

When a SAM® splint is molded into place it becomes very rigid, but the splint can be removed and rerolled. The foam that encases the aluminum is washable and waterproof, and it can be sanitized and used again. It does not require any special fasteners, and is kept in place with medical tape or a cloth wrap. This type of splint is not usually used for long-term injury care. Patients who require a splint for immobilization during the healing period of an injury are typically fit for a more permanent splint in an emergency room or doctor's office.

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It is important for medical professionals and emergency responders to receive training in how to properly cut and bend the splint. Minor injuries usually won't suffer from an improperly applied splint, but serious injuries, including broken limbs and neck injuries, must be immobilized properly to prevent further injury and increase the chances of proper, quick healing. The splint can be bent in the shape of a regular “C” curve, a “T” curve, which doubles the splint over itself and provides extra stability, and a reversed “C” curve, which increases the strength of the splint by bending the edges away from the regular “C” curve.

A SAM® splint is also available for animals. The splint is very similar to the splints intended for humans, but the aluminum is twice as thick. This provides extra durability and stability for large animals that may try to move the splinted body part.

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