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Neurosurg Focus. 2008;24(6):E14. doi: 10.3171/FOC/2008/24/6/E14.

Management of brain abscesses associated with halo fixation.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132, USA.


Halo orthoses are commonly used in the management of a variety of cervical spinal pathological conditions. Although placement of the cranial pins was initially believed to be safe with minimal complications, minor complications related to the cranial pins have the potential to create a setting for formation of cerebral abscesses. The risk of death due to cerebral abscesses has declined in the modern antibiotic era, but cerebral abscesses are associated with long-standing neurological morbidity that should not be considered negligible. Prevention by careful pin placement and hygiene and appropriate early management are crucial to prevent more serious complications. The authors report the case of a patient treated with a halo orthosis after incurring cervical spinal trauma who developed a cerebral abscess as a complication related to the cranial pins of the halo fixation device. They review the literature in an attempt to formulate a standardized treatment algorithm to prevent this disease process and to treat an abscess if it should form.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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