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A shoulder plaster spica is a plaster cast that is made to fit around your chest, shoulder and arm. This is to keep the limb immobilised, supported and protect the surgery. It is usually made before your surgery and put on in theatre after your operation.

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Your plaster spica will be checked by the plaster theatre team before you are discharged home to ensure it is comfortable, it fits well and is secure.


The following symptoms could be a sign a pressure ulcer is developing. Discoloured skin, pinkish red and/or purple bluish in colour*, which does not go pale when pressed (reddening of the skin that disappears when pressure is removed is normal and not a pressure ulcer).

  • Blisters, dry, cracked, orshinyareas
  • Skin may go darker and breakdown to cause an open wound
  • A hard swollen area of skin that may be painful to touch

(*This is not always as obvious in dark skin)

Immediately contact the plaster theatre if you start feeling any of the following:

  • Feeling a rubbing or blister – like pain or discomfort within the cast
  • Complaining of something wet or sticky inside the plaster cast
  • The plaster cast has developed an unusual smell
  • Staining has developed on the outside of the cast
  • Areas of pain or local heat

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