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Complications associated with the halo-vest. A review of 245 cases

Complications associated with the halo-vest. A review of 245 cases

Journal of Neurosurgery 65(6): 762-769

The cases of all patients treated with halo-vests for cervical trauma at the University of Virginia since 1977 were analyzed retrospectively. A standardized chart and radiographic review protocol were used to identify complications associated with the use of the orthosis. Two hundred and forty-five patients satisfied the criteria for inclusion in the study. No patient developed or suffered progression of a neurological deficit while immobilized. Complications included: pneumonia causing death (one patient); loss of reduction or progression of the spinal deformity (23 patients); spinal instability following orthotic immobilization for 3 months (24 patients); pin-track infection (13 patients); migration of anteriorly placed iliac-strut grafts (two patients); cerebrospinal fluid leakage from a halo pinhole (one patient); and miscellaneous (seven patients). The findings indicate several conclusions. The halo-vest protects patients with cervical instability from neurological injury. It does not absolutely immobilize the cervical spine nor does it prevent progressive deformity of malpositioned strut grafts. Even after a 3-month orthotic treatment period, surgery may be required on ligamentous and osseous injuries to provide spinal stability. Elderly kyphotic patients may require custom-made vests. A small subset of patients exists for whom the confining nature of the halo-vest is intolerable for 3 months.

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Accession: 039644313

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 3772473

DOI: 10.3171/jns.1986.65.6.0762

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