Print this page

Halo jacket system

A print of of this record is a patient held record of your plan of care and treatment, please safeguard it. It is your responsibility to bring it to each appointment with you, and to take care it is not misplaced.

General information

The system you are wearing is called a halo jacket system and is specifically designed to hold your neck still whilst the bones in your neck heal, in a similar way to how a broken leg or arm would be put into plaster to stop it moving whilst it heals. The system is made of titanium and graphite and is very strong. The whole system stays in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is never removed during the duration of your treatment. When the medical staff are confident that your neck is safe to be without the system, it will be removed by Walton Centre staff. The minimum period of time it is place for is usually approximately three months, however this can be longer depending upon your individual condition. It is usual for us to perform scans or x-rays at intervals to check on the progress of healing, this is what gives us the information we need to decide on when it is safe to remove the system. The system is compatible with CT and MRI scanners.

Skull pins

The pins that attach the ring to your head need to be cleaned and checked daily. The flat bed of each of the pins should be visible. This can be cleaned with Chloraprep solution or sterile water. Soap should not be used. You will be supplied with cleaning solution on discharge. A district nurse can be arranged to do pin site care, if a family member/ friend is unable to do so. We can show you how to do this. It is very important that these are closely monitored. If there is the slightest suspicion that these are becoming infected then please telephone the spinal nurse team/ GP so they  can prescribe a course of antibiotics.

The warning signs of infection are:

  • Redness around the pins sites.
  • Leakage or weeping from the pin sites.
  • Additional tenderness / swelling around the pin sites.

If you are unsure then please feel free to telephone the Spinal Nurse Specialist for advice.


The system is set to specific pressure settings and you will be given appointments to return to The Walton Centre approximately every two weeks to have it checked. This can vary of your team has concerns. We appreciate that this can be a long journey for some people however it is very important it is monitored to ensure your safety.

General advice

The advantage to wearing this system is that you can walk around and manage many of your normal activities of daily life whilst your neck bones heal. It is important to know that you cannot drive whilst wearing this system as your line of vision is very restricted. You can travel in a car as a passenger. The system will obviously cause you some limitations in your daily life, but you can do as much as you are comfortable and safe to do. You can wash but you need to keep the sheepskin lining dry, so you need to wash the parts of your body you can reach. It is possible to sit in a shallow bath and keep the jacket and liner dry, but you must have enough movement to be able to safely get in and out of the bath.

You can wash your hair but you will need someone else to do this for you to help prevent getting the jacket liner wet. We advise that you do not use dry shampoo or hair colouring whilst in the halo system. You will need to wear clothes that are much larger than your normal size so  they will fit over the top of the jacket system as well as you. Some people modify clothing such as vests or T-Shirts so that they can slide them between the sheepskin liner and their skin. Do not put anything down the jacket as this can scratch your skin and cause pressure ulceration.

There are no restrictions on you going out and about whilst wearing this system, indeed the more you are moving the more advantageous this is. You will however need to give yourself some time to get used to wearing the system. Although it is not very heavy (average 3kg) it will affect your balance at first and your line of vision will be very restricted, so you need to take care that you do not fall. The longer you wear the system the more confident you will become.

If you have any queries or questions at any time during your treatment please telephone the Spinal Nurse Specialist for advice, on the contact numbers below.

Patient Name:___________________________________
Date of Birth:___________________________________
Unit Number:___________________________________
GP Tel No:_______________________________________
Halo System applied on:_____________________________

Date Intervention Instructions    




The Walton Centre contact details

  • Spinal Nurse Specialists - Tel: 0151 556 3424 or Tel: 0151 525 3611 and ask for bleep 5189
  • Secretary to your consultant 

In the case of needing urgent attention first try to contact the Spinal Nurse Specialist (on the above contact details via bleep system), If unavailable telephone 0151 525 3611 and ask for the ward which you were on, and speak to the nurse in charge who will be able to discuss any problems with the relevant medical team.

In the unusual case of an emergency only

For CPR, release the waist buckles and bend up the front shell of the jacket along the pre-determined crease to expose the chest for compressions. Please note, in the unlikely event of an emergency. The patient is wearing the system to protect their unstable cervical spine. It is highly likely the patient will still have an unstable cervical spine, once the system is released they will need to be managed as such. The patient has been given an allen key on discharge which fits the jacket system in order to release any components if required in an emergency situation.

  • Last Updated:
    01 February 2023
  • Review Date:
    01 February 2025
  • Author:
    Keren Smallwood
  • Summary:

    The system you are wearing is called a halo jacket system and is specifically designed to hold your neck still whilst the bones in your neck heal, in a similar way to how a broken leg or arm would be put into plaster to stop it moving whilst it heals.

  • Related Service:

Related content