Halo-thoracic brace immobilization in 188 patients with acute cervical spine injuries
The authors report 188 patients with acute cervical spine injury with fracture who underwent Halo-thoracic brace immobilization. The majority of the fractures were considered unstable. Early neurological assessment revealed 24 patients without neurological deficit. There were 164 patients with associated cervical cord injury; 84 patients with incomplete, and 80 patients with complete tetraplegia. Management consisted of skull traction and application of the Halo-thoracic brace about 1.3 weeks after admission. The average radiological union time was 11.5 weeks following a mean of 10.2 weeks of immobilization in a Halo apparatus. Satisfactory restoration of bone and ligament stability, with no significant posttreatment neck pain, was obtained in 168 cases (89%). This is comparable to the fusion rate achieved for cervical fractures in the literature. The follow-up periods range from 1 month to 6 years, with a mean of 10.8 months. The management and results in 73 patients with unilaterally and bilaterally locked facets with or without fractures are discussed. Complete tetraplegia is not considered a contraindication to Halo apparatus immobilization. The multiple factors responsible for overcoming the barrier of anesthetic skin are elucidated. Use of the Halo apparatus offers early mobilization and rehabilitation without neurological deterioration. Complications are few and insignificant.
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