Risser, Mehta and Pantaloon Casts

Risser, Mehta and Pantaloon casts are part of the treatment to correct your child's spinal problem. The casts look like this:

Risser, or Mehta, and Pantaloon casts are part of the treatment to correct your spinal problem.

  • In a Risser, or Mehta, cast, you may sit and walk.
  • In a Pantaloon cast, your hips will not move, so you will not be able to sit or walk.

These casts are made from either Plaster of Paris or synthetic materials. The doctor will decide which type of cast is best for your care. Inform healthcare professionals if your child has a latex allergy.

Learning to cope with your cast will take time. When you first get your cast you may feel that you can't stand it. Try to do as many things for yourself as possible. This may be hard at first, but as you learn to move, dress, etc., you will feel better.

Some days you may feel trapped and sad. Talking with your family and friends about how you feel often helps.

Learning to cope with your cast will take time.

  • It takes one to two hours to apply these casts.
  • Two layers of soft fabric are wrapped around your body over the areas the cast will cover.
  • For a Risser, or Mehta, cast, the material is applied from your chin to your hips. For a Pantaloon cast, the material is applied from the middle of your chest to your knees.
  • The cast feels wet, warm and tight at first. This tight feeling will go away as the cast dries. Plaster casts take two to three days to fully dry. Synthetic casts dry in two hours.
  • After the cast is applied, the edges will be trimmed. Tape "petals" may be applied to any rough cast edges to protect your skin.
  • Your arms and legs will be cleaned to remove any plaster. You will then have an X-ray to check your spine's position.
  • You may need moleskin from the drugstore. This can also be obtained from orthopedic staff in clinic or at the time of your cast application. 
  • From a supply store you may need a hospital bed with side rails and trapeze bar. If you are allowed to walk, you may need a walker or crutches. If you are not able to walk, you may need a cart or a reclining wheelchair.
  • If you had surgery, you may need a prescription for pain medicine to help you feel more comfortable.

Taking care of your child's cast:

  • Keep the cast clean and dry to prevent skin problems. Do not get your child's cast wet. Protect the cast by covering it with plastic food wrap while eating, sponge bathing, washing hair, and using the bathroom.
  • Do not put anything under your child's cast. The skin under the cast can be easily scratched and infected. If itching occurs, you may blow cool air under the cast from a hair dryer. If itching still bothers your child, call the doctor for a medicine to ease it.
  • Never use lotions, creams, or powders on the skin around or under the cast. This will soften the skin and the cast. Softened skin is more easily scratched and damaged from the edges of the cast pressure.  
  • Infections of the skin under the cast can cause:
    1. Sores
    2. Drainage
    3. A change in the odor of the cast
  • A cast that is too tight or pressing on one area of your child's body too long can:
    1. Slow circulation
    2. Press on nerves
    3. Cause pressure sores

Several times a day check your child's arms and legs for changes in color and temperature, ability to move, numbness and tingling.

  • Every day wash all parts of your child's body not covered by the cast.

How to Use a Bedpan 

  • Turn on one side.
  • Place the bedpan on the bed.
  • Roll your child onto back and onto the bedpan.
  • Tuck a diaper around the cast to protect it and funnel waste into the bedpan.
  • A pillow in the middle of the back will help ease pressure on your child's head and buttocks while using the bedpan.
  • Never place a pillow under the head when in a Risser or Mehta cast. It will force the head forward and cause pressure on the chin and jaw.
  • Avoid junk food. A balanced diet will help to keep your child healthy.
  • Fix small meals often rather than three large meals. This will help prevent feeling too full while in the cast.
  • Provide extra fluids. This will help your child go to the bathroom regularly.

As your child becomes used to the cast, he or she may start doing more things independently. The key is to be as active as possible while preventing injury.

  • The cast may be heavy, so balance may not be even. Use a walker, handrails, or your family to help as needed.
  • If your child's bedroom is upstairs, move it into a first-floor room if you can. This is important so you can get your child out quickly if there is a fire.
  • If allowed to walk, start slowly and increase activity by walking first to the bathroom, then to the table for meals, and then within your home.
  • If not allowed to walk, use the cart or wheelchair to move around the house.
  • Plan different things to do. Besides watching TV, you can read, have friends visit, play games with your family, work puzzles and do your schoolwork.

Use large, loose clothing to cover the cast. Elastic waistbands work well.

To put on pants, socks and shoes:

  1. Sit down.
  2. Cross one leg over the other.
  3. Pull the clothes over your crossed (bent) leg.
  4. Straighten crossed leg.
  5. Bend the other leg and pull clothes on over it.
  • A change in position does not make reddened areas go away after an hour.
  • Numbness, stinging, or burning occurs under cast.
  • A different foul (bad) smell, other than urine, feces, or body odor, comes from cast.
  • Pain that is steady or increases, and is not relieved by medicine or a change in position.
  • Fever over 101 degrees or more.
  • Cast becomes soft or cracks.

Learning to cope and live with a cast takes time. Your child may be depressed because of the changes in how she or he looks and feels.

Listen to your child and support his or her feelings. Urge him or her to learn to care for themselves as much as possible.

For a while, your child may behave differently around other people, but have your family and their friends spend time with your child. Some days may be difficult, but a positive outlook helps.

Your doctor will tell you where and how soon you will need to come back for a checkup. If you have any questions, call the orthopaedic nurse or orthopaedic physician.

If you need to reach the orthopaedic nurse before 4 pm Monday through Friday, call 513-636-4567. For urgent questions or concerns after 4 pm and during weekends and holidays, call 513-636-4200 and ask that the orthopaedic resident on call be paged.


Last Updated 11/2013