Outcomes of halo immobilization in the management of subaxial cervical facet fractures

David Melville Sime, Belinda Jane Gabbe, Susan Liew

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Spinal injury causes a significant burden on patients, families and health services. Cervical facet fractures are uncommon, and there is a paucity of functional and health-related quality-of-life data in patients who are managed non-operatively for this injury.
Methods: Victorian State Trauma Registry patients managed in a halothoracic brace for cervical facet injuries from August 2006 to June 2013 were included. Health status (12-item Short-Form health survey), function (Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended), pain and return to work outcomes were assessed at 6, 12 and 24 months post-injury. Subgroup analysis was performed for age, sex, comorbidity, compensable status, Injury Severity Score (ISS) and education.
Results: Outcome data were available for 54 patients, with road trauma being the most common mechanism (69%), followed by a fall from height (18%). Overall, good 24-month function was achieved in 35% of patients, and 51% and 77% of patients reported good physical and mental health status, respectively. Ongoing moderate–severe neck pain was present in 19% of patients. Poorer function was associated with compensable status (P = 0.05), an ISS > 12 (P = 0.001) and a lower level of education (P = 0.04). Poorer physical health status was associated with age ≥50 (P = 0.05), pre-existing comorbidities, an ISS > 12 (P = 0.04) and a lower level of education (P = 0.03).
Conclusion: Although many patients achieved good function and health status by 24 months, neck pain remains prevalent. A number of demographic factors were associated with a poorer outcome. This understanding helps to inform prognosis when managing this injury.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-164
Number of pages6
JournalANZ Journal of Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • cervica
  • facet
  • halo
  • outcome
  • pain

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