The halo brace is a rigid frame that holds your head, neck, and spine in a fixed position, which reduces undesired motion in your neck.
Your halo brace consists of three parts:
- Vest: The plastic jacket that covers the chest and acts as the foundation for the brace; is lined with material that will let your skin breathe.
- Halo Ring: The rigid part that surrounds your head and is held in place by pins that attach to the outer layer of the skull.
- Frame: The structure that is made up of four upright bars and two headlocks, which connect the halo ring to the vest; provides positioning and traction for your neck.
Halo check-ups are very important and should be done every 3-4 weeks.
- Pins/Frames: If you notice that a pin, nut, or bolt is loose, or hear clicking sounds, your halo may need to be adjusted. Avoid excessive movement until the halo can be checked out properly
- Vest: If you gain or lose a considerable amount of weight, or if you feel any uncomfortable pressure in a particular area, your vest will need to be adjusted.
Pin Site Care
Proper cleaning and caring for the pin sites will decrease the risk of infection. Be sure to follow instructions carefully:
- Pins and skin sites should be cared for twice a day using cotton swabs soaked in peroxide. It is very important to use a new clean cotton swab for each pin site. This decreases the chance of any contamination transferring from one pin site to another.
- Watch for signs of infections such as bleeding, oozing, or scabbing. Report these conditions to your physician immediately
- Be sure to keep the pin site clean and dry at all times.
Shampooing the Hair
Careful and thorough cleaning of your hair will reduce the risk of infection around the pin sites, and can be done at least once a week. To do so:
- Have patient lie on edge of a flat surface with his or her head extended over the edge. Place a catch basin under the head.
- Protect the halo liner with a towel and gently ease hair through the halo.
- Wash hair normally, being careful not to bump or jar the pins.
- Use a pitcher to rinse the hair, and then hand dry the hair carefully. A dryer on cool may be used after hand drying the hair.
- Be sure to clean the pin sites after each washing.
Skin Care Information
Skin Care/Personal Hygiene
Showers are not permitted because the liner will absorb water and can cause skin problems. Daily washing under your vest can be accomplished using a damp cloth. Be sure to follow instructions carefully:
- Have patient lie on their back and pass the cloth under the vest from one side to another, and move it back and forth, across all areas of the front. Then turn over and do the same for the back.
- To remove excess oil and keep the skin dry, occasional use of rubbing alcohol in place of water is permitted.
- Never use lotion, powder, or soap under your vest, as this can cause the liner to become matted and can lead to skin irritations.
- Be sure to keep your skin under the vest and liner as clean and dry as possible.
- Once a day, without removing your vest, check your skin under the vest for signs of skin breakdown, as well as for reddened areas and pressure sores. To do this, have someone use a flashlight to view the skin under the vest and liner. Pay careful attention to the areas around the shoulder blades, spine, ribs, and chest bone.
- If you develop an irritation under the liner, consult your doctor or orthotist immediately.
Below are helpful hints to help make you as comfortable as possible during your treatment:
- Balance: You will need to overcome the top heavy effect experienced with the use of a halo brace. Use caution and steady yourself when standing from sitting position or performing your daily activities.
- Sleeping: To reduce the possibility of a pin loosening, do not rest the back of your ring on anything. Use pillows or foam wedges behind your back and a pillow behind your knees for support and comfort while you sleep. Use a rolled towel behind your head and neck to lessen the feeling of being suspended in space.
- Exercise: Only exercise approved by your doctor should be done. Avoid doing anything that requires lifting heavy objects as this will cause strain on your neck.
- Clothing: Your clothes should be loose and baggy, with ample room to allow shirts to go over your head and neck.
- Traveling: Due to your limited range of vision, you should not drive while wearing your halo brace. Consult your doctor on the most safe and practical way to enter and exit a vehicle.
- Emergency Procedure: Halos come with a red sticker describing Emergency Access Procedures.