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Halo Gravity Traction

Children's Mercy is an American College of Surgeons Verified Center

Halo gravity traction is a technique of applying traction to the spine pre-operatively through a metal ring (halo) that is attached to your child’s head. Not all children will need halo traction before their surgery. This treatment is typically used for children with very large, stiff curves, with the goal of stretching out the spine slowly and carefully prior to their scheduled spine surgery.

What to expect with treatment

Your child will be hospitalized for several weeks before their scheduled spine surgery so that we can carefully monitor them while they are receiving continuous traction. During this time, your child's neurological system and lung function will also be monitored.

To help bring comfort to your child, we have adaptive equipment that allows them to move around, and a team of support staff who will make sure your child is engaged and occupied during their stay at Children's Mercy.

How the procedure works

To prepare for halo traction, we will take your child to the operating room and give them general anesthesia. The doctor then secures the halo to your child’s head with several pins, which is a very simple procedure.

The next day, we can begin to add weight to the halo to provide the traction. The amount of weight is gradually increased to up to 50% of the child’s body weight and then maintained at that amount throughout the remainder of traction treatment.

Two patients having halo gravity traction