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Halo-vest treatment of unstable traumatic cervical spine injuries

Halo-vest treatment of unstable traumatic cervical spine injuries

Spine 13(4): 425-432

Eighty-three patients with unstable cervical spine injuries were treated with halo-vest stabilization in a prospective consecutive series during a 10 year period. At the follow-up 2-7 years after the trauma, six patients had died and eight patients had been surgically stabilized. Sixty-seven of the remaining 69 patients (97%) were subjected to the follow-up performed with validated protocols. All patients but three were reexamined clinically and radiographically. Flexion-extension motion and sidebending of the neck was measured radiographically. Rotation was measured with the aid of a compass placed on top of the head of the patient. Forty-four patients (53%) had initial neurological deficit, 26 with tetraparesis. The age range was 13-89 years and the male/female ratio was 2/1. The halo-vest treatment period was 10-12 weeks. The 1 year healing rate was 90%. Seven nonunions occurred, all in fracture types known to be prone to nonunion. Complications during the treatment were usually minor, with pin problems being the most frequent (pin loosening 60%). At the follow-up, approximately 80% of all patients had complaints of local neck symptoms. Pain at the extremes of neck motion and stiffness was the most frequent. The symptoms were mild and did not usually have any major impact on return to work or leisure activities. Seventy-five percent of patients with incomplete cord lesions and useless muscle function improved to useful function. The patients had a statistically significant decrease of rotation (18%) and sidebending (18%) of the neck but normal flexion-extension motion when compared to the normal.

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Accession: 040245909

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 3406852

DOI: 10.1097/00007632-198804000-00010

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