Efficacy of perioperative halo-gravity traction in the treatment of severe scoliosis in children

Ernest L. Sink, Lori A. Karol, James Sanders, John G. Birch, Charles E. Johnston, J. Anthony Herring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Perioperative halo traction was used in the treatment of severe scoliosis in 19 children. Diagnoses included neuromuscular, idiopathic, and congenital scoliosis. Traction was transferable between the bed and a walker or wheelchair. Thirteen patients had prior spinal surgery, and most required osteotomy. Traction was used for 6 to 21 weeks. All patients underwent spinal fusion surgery after traction, with instrumentation used in 15 patients. Improvement was achieved in all patients. The Cobb angle improved 35% from an average 84° before traction (range 63°-100°) to 55° preceding fusion. Trunk decompensation improved in all patients. Trunk height increased 5.3 cm in traction. Response to traction did not correlate with diagnosis, patient age, or prior surgery. There were no neurologic complications. Perioperative halo-gravity traction improves trunk balance and frontal and sagittal alignment in children with severe spinal deformity. Surgical fusion was enhanced by the improved alignment, and neurologic injury was avoided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-524
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 16 2001


  • Halo
  • Scoliosis
  • Traction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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