Halo-Gravity Traction in Spinal Deformity Treatment (Part 1)

1. What is halo-gravity traction (HGT)?
Gravity pulls the body down, and causes the spine to bend
and twist more, especially for those individuals with scoliosis or kyphosis or
both.  Simply put, gravity makes spinal
deformity worse.  Laying down in bed, or
on the ground, negates the force of gravity making the spinal deformity better
temporarily, and can decrease back and neck pain.  Unfortunately for spinal deformities we
cannot lie down our entire life.  Traction
on the spine is not a new concept, has been advocated for spinal problems since
the age of Hippocrates (Vasiliadas ES, in Scoliosis
HGT is aimed at correcting spinal deformity by reversing the
impact of gravity on the spine.  Halo-gravity
traction is the use of a halo, applied to the cranium or skull, through which a
vertical traction force is applied to the head, neck and spine. 
2. Why is HGT used?
For treatment spinal deformity it can be used before surgery
in order to improve the deformity before the individual undergoes their
surgical treatment.  The bigger the
deformity, the greater potential risks are for a problem with spinal cord
function at surgery.  So by stretching
the spinal deformity and spinal cord before surgery, while the individual is
awake we can assess the function of the spinal cord.  Though there is no scientific proof HGT
decreases the risk of a spinal cord problem in surgery, most surgeons who
utilize this technique feel it may lessen the risk.
3. When is halo-gravity traction used?
Spinal deformity problems range from mild to severe, and it
is for those problems on the severe end that HGT can be useful. 
Before and after HGT treatment:

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