Halo orthosis brace or simply a Halo brace is a metal brace used to immobilize a neck and head while getting a neck injury or neck fracture, until it heals the injury of the neck.
This works by keeping the head and neck in the correct position thus allowing it to heal the injured spinal column and ligaments faster.
Halo brace for neck injury is prescribed by a physician, an orthopedic physician or a neurosurgeon to eliminate action or movements in the slanting and coronal levels of the cervical spine.
It must be applied in such a way that there should be no movements at all in the affected area.
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What Is A Halo Brace?
Halo brace and accessories comprises of three parts which are: ring & pins, plastic vest and the superstructure that connects the rings to the vest in upright position.
A metal ring is a frame which circles the head without touching the skull. Normally, the head pins used in halo brace are screwed directly into the skull.
It is inserted tightly in resolute base and the number of pins used depends on the patient’s age, bone quality, injury etc.
Average number of pins used are 4 to 6 for adults, however sometimes more pins are used to make the difference in case of fixation.
Then there is a movable frame provided which connects ring and vest together. A plastic vest is used so as to support the frame and it comprises of a washable liner to protect the skin of the user.
Most people don’t feel the pain while fixing the pins as they are too tight. However if fixed loosely, these will definitely cause the pain.
X-rays of halo neck fracture may be performed later after the fitting to make sure of the right position of spine so that it can be immobilized correctly.
When Is Halo Brace Used?
Getting a spinal cord or cervical injury can be a life changing experience for anyone. It becomes quite frustrating for you to accept the truth that you actually had an injury.
Accept it; it will be going to take few weeks until you see yourself normal again.
You and your family may be sad, frightened or sometime angry about it but you are the only person who need to spend the time with this painful feeling.
Halo brace for broken neck is generally used when someone gets their vertebrate severely fractured in their cervical spine.
Naturally, it is considered as an odontoid fracture which will potentially cooperate with a patient’s neurological function if it is unbalanced for more time.
No doubt, there can be other areas in cervical spine that gets severely damaged and need Halo as well.
Actually, these braces are used for patients who have unbalanced cervical fracture located mainly in C1 and C2 area.
The time period required to heal the injury can be about 12 weeks which may vary according to the nature of injury which is determined by your physician.
Wearing A Halo Brace Correctly?
Halo neck brace immobilize your spine and cervical region while you are walking, running, working, etc. thus helping it to heal quickly.
However it should be applied and used properly so that you get the best benefits out of it.
While getting it for first time you need to follow all the halo brace application instructions provided by your physician carefully.
Often people claims of getting halo brace scars after the brace removal, especially when it is not applied or fitted properly.
Bending and twisting of the body is strictly avoided while wearing the Halo neck brace as it may result a severe problem in spine. Also make sure that you keep the hairs short around the pin sites of the brace.
When you are trying to move from lying to standing position, roll onto your one side and rest your arms to push up to sitting position. Then slowly get into the standing position.
It is important that you take the help of a trained person if you want to adjust a brace or want to open it for any reason. Take special care that you lie flat before you open the vest.
When it comes to caring for your neck Halo brace you need to be bit careful. Cleaning your Halo brace and checking the pin sites are most important tasks while taking care of your brace.
You may also occasionally need to clean the skin present under the vest. Checking of the pins and bolt adjustments is also the things you need to care for and should be the part of your halo brace care.
Why Taking Care for First Few Days Is Important
Halo brace is about 7 pounds in weight and initially the patient carrying it may feel uncomfortable while balancing it and moving.
Some patients may also experience pain while eating but they gets habituated slowly to the brace as they get used to it.
Special care should be therefore taken for first few days after the halo brace application, so as to avoid any fall of the brace while moving.
As days pass patient may get used to it and can carry it without any help. The patient is also specially trained to do the daily activities and exercises without any hard movements which helps them in getting the recovery fast.
It is important to get halo for neck fracture, trauma or any type of spinal injury to get it cured fast. As it is rigid in its function it prevents the head and neck from movements.
While opting halo for broken neck it is best to take the help of an experienced professional who is good in providing the braces along with all the help regarding how to wear and balance it.
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