Halo immobilization in the treatment of burns to the head, face, and neck

W. Schubert, C. Kuehn, B. Moudry, S. Miyamoto, D. H. Ahrenholz, L. D. Solem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The care of burns to the head, face, and neck remains a challenge to the clinician. From 1978 to 1986, halo traction was used as an immobilizing device and as a protective frame for 31 patients with burns to the head (n = 8), face (n = 24), and neck (n = 28). The patients ranged in age from 8 months to 80 years (x = 16 years) and had second- and third-degree burns covering a total body surface area of 8% to 75% (x = 28%). The halo was used for an average of eight days (range one to 19 days) and served to immobilize and protect areas of fresh skin grafts, as well as to elevate and protect scalp donor sites (n = 10). Traction was initially used in patients who were confused and uncooperative, and in patients whose burns involved the neck to provide extension for prophylaxis against contractures. Treatment side effects included intermittent headache and backache, the latter occurring especially in the patients subjected to hyperextension. Eight patients (26%) complained of discomfort, which was reduced with adequate analgesia, sedation, and emotional support. The halo had to be removed from one patient after one day because of a loose pin, and in another patient after eight clays because of the development of cellulitis at a pin site. Halo immobilization was used successfully to minimize graft loss in 30 of 31 patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-189
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

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