A halo is a device
placed on the head and chest, to provide added stability for
the neck. It might be placed to stabilize the neck after
suffering a fracture, or it might be placed after an extensive
cervical operation. The procedure is generally done
while the patient is lying in their hospital bed. The
patient generally receives an intravenous sedative, as well
as a local anesthetic. The halo ring is then affixed
to the patient's skull with four pins, and the ring is attached
to a vest which goes around the chest, by means of radiolucent
graphite bars. Modern halo's are relatively light weight.
Linings are comfortable, although they can be warm during
are quite low, there are several. During application
of the halo, there can be the typical risks associated with
any medication and anesthetics, which would include respiratory
arrest, stroke, coma, death, and allergic reaction.
There can be potential bleeding from the pin sites.
The sites can become infected during the time they remain
in place. There can be resorption of the bone subjacent
to the pins, and they could theoretically puncture through
the bone and into the brain. Pins can looses during
the weeks following halo placement, and require repositioning.
- Halo's are
sturdy constructs, but must be treated with care.
Avoid bumping them. Shocks can be transmitted through
the halo to the pins, skull and cervical spine.
- The pin sites
must be cleansed twice daily, with betadine and hydrogen
- Avoid adjusting
the screws on the halo, or the pins attached to the skull.
Leave this to your surgeon.
- Carry the
halo wrenches with you at all times. You are unlikely
to ever have need for them, but in the case of a cardiac
arrest, these may be needed to emergently remove the vest.
- Keep the vest
- Do not let
anyone pull or push your halo to adjust your position in
the bed or a chair. Instead, let them support you
under your back and shoulders and arms.
- Although you
do not need it, some patients feel better sleeping with
a towel rolled up and placed under their head and neck.