Using Your Halo Brace at Home
Your Halo Orthosis controls and supports your neck posture, helps reduce pain, prevents further
injury, and promotes healing.
Wearing your Halo
Your Halo should prevent harmful motion in your neck.
When you want to look in another direction, your head and
trunk will turn as one. You should be able to do many
normal activities by yourself or with a little help from
caregivers or an assistive device. Ask your doctor for
detailed guidelines to follow.
Planning for your trip home
Arrange for someone to drive you home because the Halo will restrict your movement and
vision. Bend at your hips, knees, and lower back when getting into and out of a car, sitting, or
standing. Be very careful to allow extra space for the Halo structure when you move near other
people or objects. During cold weather, you may be more comfortable if you limit your time
You cannot take off your Halo. You must wear your Halo as ordered by your doctor. Your halo
system should be removed, adjusted, changed or opened only by your doctor or his assistants. If
you have any problems or concerns, you should contact your doctor promptly.
During the course of your Halo treatment, avoid taking showers or getting your Halo vest wet.
Sponge baths are advised during this time. Clean your skin under the halo vest by carefully
reaching under the vest with a lightly damp cloth. Do not attempt to loosen, change, or remove
the Halo vest. If your doctor permits you to wash your hair during halo treatment, follow the
Cleaning pin sites
Nursing staff will teach you how to keep the pin sites clean.
You will need to clean the pin sites twice a day. Often, a crust will form around each site. This
crust must be cleaned off to prevent infection. Your nurse will show you or a caregiver how to
clean the pin sites before you leave the hospital.
ξ small sterile containers
ξ 1 bottle of hydrogen peroxide
ξ 1 bottle of normal saline
ξ sterile cotton swabs
ξ latex or vinyl gloves (non-sterile)
ξ small paper or plastic bag to dispose waste
What to do
1. Wash hands well with soap and water.
2. Use hydrogen peroxide in a half strength mixture (mix equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide
and normal saline) for cleaning. Ask your nurse how much liquid you should use for one
cleaning. Pour only enough for one cleaning. Once the mixture is poured, it cannot be
poured back into the bottle.
NOTE: you may want to wear non-sterile gloves for the rest of the procedure.
3. Dip a sterile cotton swab into the cleaning mixture. Vigorously clean one pin site. Be sure to
remove any crust. Then, repeat for each pin site. Always use a new, clean swab for each
pin site. Start close to the pin and work away from it in a circular motion.
4. Check the pin sites for signs of infection. Call your doctor right away if you see any of these
ξ Increased drainage
Note: Your doctor may prefer to have you apply antibiotic ointment around the pin site. Use a
small drop of ointment for each pin and use a new, sterile cotton swab to spread it around each
pin. No gauze is needed.
To get more supplies
You can get more supplies on your return visits to the Ortho/Spine Clinic. If you need more
supplies but do not have a scheduled clinic visit, call the clinic.
Cleaning your Halo
Wipe off the structure using a cloth dampened with alcohol or water.
How long do I need to wear the Halo?
Your doctor will decide how long you need to wear your Halo. Your doctor will check your
progress and will decide what is in your best long-term interest.
What should I do if my neurological symptoms get worse?
If you have more numbness, tingling, and pain or are less able to move or do everyday activities,
please call the Spine Clinic at (608) 265-3207.
Spanish version is #6649
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor.
This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because
each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team
when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 6/2015 University of
Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5397