Friday, May 15, 2020

Halo-Gravity Traction in Spinal Deformity Treatment (Part 3)

Do the kids lie in bed the entire time?
Absolutely not. The only time they are in bed is to sleep, take a nap or rest.  Otherwise the patients in traction are kept busy and upright.  If patients are in bed they will not get the maximal benefit from the traction, so the more they are out of bed the better.  During the day patients use a walker with the traction apparatus attached, so they can move around as they desire. 

What will the kids do for activities for time they are in traction?
In general the kids are kept busy by nurses, therapists, hospital volunteers, and family.  Since they are mobile the kids go to the physical and occupational therapy departments, where they work with pediatric therapists on strength and range of motion.  They participate in yoga and walk on a treadmill for aerobic conditioning, while still in traction!  The remainder of the days are spent in various activities, especially in recreational therapy. 

How much improvement will we see in the spine deformity?
The amount of correction depends on many factors, from patient age, coexisting medical conditions, deformity magnitude, previous spine surgeries, location of the deformity, etc……. We see an average of 35% of correction.  More correction is great, but even if there is less correction on radiographs, halo-gravity traction can still be beneficial.

Before Halo-Gravity Traction                                     After 6 weeks of traction                    
126 degrees                                                                 93 degrees                                           
After spine fusion
39 degrees

When is the halo removed?
As mentioned in a previous blog, the halo is placed under general anesthesia initially.  When the patient undergoes the next surgical procedures (growing rods, Shilla, fusion, etc…) the halo is used during the surgery for safe positioning.  At the completion of surgery, but before the patient is awake, the halo is removed.  Small Band-Aids are placed over the eyebrows.

What happens after the halo is removed?
After removal the places where the pins were placed into the skull gradually heal.  Obviously the ones placed on the back of the skull are hidden by hair.  The pin sites over the eyebrows also slowly heal and leave a very small scar, which most people cannot see.

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