halo vest

ha·lo vest

(hā'lō vest)
An orthopedic device used to help immobilize the neck and head.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012

halo vest

A device used to immobilize the head and cervical spine following vertebral injury or surgery. It is designed to provide in-line traction of the cervical spine while allowing for a moderate amount of functional independence. The halo vest consists of three parts: (1) the halo, secured into the skull through the use of four pins or screws; (2) the vest, worn over the shoulders and trunk to support the weight of the halo, skull, and cervical spine; and (3) four metal bars connecting the halo to the vest.

Patient care

The screws attaching the halo to the skull must be kept clean to reduce the risk of infection. Hygiene consists of cleaning each pin two to three times a day as prescribed by a physician. The patient should be instructed on how to use a mirror to inspect the sites for signs of infection, e.g., redness of the skin, or purulent drainage from around the pins. If the vest becomes wet, it should be dried with a hairdryer set on its lowest temperature setting. The shoulders and thorax should be inspected for signs of irritation from the vest. Additional padding may be required around pressure-sensitive areas.


Complications reported with the halo vest include: (1) incomplete cervical fracture healing (in about 10% to 15% of patients); (2) impairments in balance, vision, and some activities of daily living; (3) infection; (4) loosening of pins; and (5) scarring of skin at pin insertion sites.
Synonym: halo vest orthosis
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
The mainstay of non-operative treatment consists of either a hard cervical collar--such as the Aspen, Miami J, or Philadelphia collars--or a halo vest orthosis.
In their classification, conservative treatment is recommended for type 1 fractures, which have a nondisplaced fracture or impaction fracture; however, a halo vest or surgical treatment is often recommended for type 2B fractures, which have a displaced fracture with ligamentous injury.
Home unit's cervical traction may reduce symptoms of cervical radiculopathy.7 Cervical traction can be applied in either supine position 8,9 or by placing a patient in a halo vest in sitting position.10,11 The mode of cervical traction can be either continuous or intermittent.12
She wrote: "It's nice to have my face back and not be being forced in an unnatural position BUT I underestimated the amount of support the halo vest was giving me, even just for my ribs and thoracic spine.
in 2013, a halo vest immobilization was performed on patients with reconstruction that attached the device to the skull by pins.
He gave a brief overview of the history of halo vest traction for stabilisation or reduction of cervical spinal cord injures.
Caring for an individual with a halo vest can be a frustrating and anxiety-provoking experience for healthcare professionals, the patient, and their families.
Type 2 injuries are initially reduced with traction in slight extension followed by a halo vest for 12 weeks.
At the West Roxbury (Mass.) VA Medical Center, most patients are admitted after surgical stabilization of the spine and arrive with halo vest, turtle-shell jacket, or Philadelphia (hard) collar.
Campi et al., "Upper cervical spine injuries: Indications and limits of the conservative management in Halo vest. A systematic review of efficacy and safety," Injury, vol.
In the both groups, the patients were immobilized postoperatively in bed under light head halter traction for 1 to 4 weeks followed by halo vest immobilization for an additional 8 to 14 weeks.