Severe cervical kyphosis complicating halo traction in a patient with marfan syndrome

Justin S. Yang, Paul D. Sponseller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


STUDY DESIGN.: A case report of complications from using halo traction in a patient with Marfan Syndrome (MFS). OBJECTIVE.: The aim of the article is to describe a complication of halo traction in a patient with MFS. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Scoliosis is a common presentation in MFS and may require surgery. Halo traction is a well-recognized adjunct for correcting severe, complex, rigid scoliotic curves. No articles have been published describing complications from the use of halo traction in patients with MFS. METHODS.: Review of records and radiographs. RESULTS.: A patient with MFS and severe scoliosis of 145° underwent an anterior and posterior release with halo-gravity traction for 2 weeks duration, followed by a posterior fusion. Her postoperative major scoliosis curve correction was stable at 26°. The patient developed cervical kyphosis and neck stiffness after the traction. Ultimately, 23 months later with 66° of angulation, the increasing kyphosis warranted anterior and posterior fusion. Seven months after cervical surgery, her cervical kyphosis stabilized at 22°. CONCLUSION.: This complication may be explained by the laxity of the connective tissue in MFS. Also, halo traction creates more tension in the cervical spine than the thoracolumbar spine. For patients with MFS and perhaps other connective tissue disorders, halo-gravity traction should be used with caution, especially when some pre-existing cervical kyphosis is present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E66-E69
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Cervical kyphosis
  • Complication
  • Halo-gravity traction
  • Marfan
  • Scoliosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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