Halo vest

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Updated: 4/11/2007 5:49 pm
Patients who undergo surgery or sustain an injury to their cervical vertebrae, must often wear a halo vest to immobilize their head and neck. The halo vest has three main parts: the metal halo ring that fits around your head and is secured to the skull by four metal pins, the lined vest that suspends the weight of the apparatus around the trunk of your body, and the metal bars that connect the halo ring to the body vest. Although the halo vest is cumbersome, you will be able to sit, stand, and walk, but you may need some assistance at first. Your field of vision may also be decreased because you can't turn your head without turning your whole body. To prevent any further problems, you may want to practice walking on a level surface at first before progressing to stair climbing. Also, you may want to beware of curbs and other irregular surfaces. It's important while wearing the vest that you learn to do as much as you can for yourself, but you shouldn't hesitate to ask for assistance. If you fall while wearing the halo vest, the pins could be loosened. You should notify your doctor immediately and avoid making adjustments to the halo vest yourself. To avoid infection around the pin sites, gently clean around each pin two or three times a day using hydrogen peroxide. There are several signs you may want to look out for when checking around the pin sites, including pain, inflammation, unusual drainage, and fever. If you notice any of these problems, you need to be examined by your physician.
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