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A hip spica cast is a sort of orthopedic cast used to immobilize the hip or thigh. It is used to facilitate healing of injured hip joints or of fractured femurs.
A hip spica includes the trunk of the body and one or both legs. A hip spica which covers only one leg to the ankle or foot may be referred to as a single hip spica, while one which covers both legs is called a double hip spica. A one-and-a-half hip spica encases one leg to the ankle or foot and the other to just above the knee. The extent to which the hip spica covers the trunk depends greatly on the injury and the surgeon; the spica may extend only to the navel, allowing mobility of the spine and the possibility of walking with the aid of crutches, or may extend to the rib cage or even to the armpits in some rare cases. Hip spicas were formerly common in reducing femoral fractures, but today are rarely used except for congenital hip dislocations, and then mostly while the child is still an infant.
In some cases, a hip spica may only extend down one or more legs to above the knee. Such casts, called pantaloon casts, are occasionally seen to immobilize an injured lumbar spine or pelvis, in which case the trunk portion of the cast usually extends to the armpits.