A Comparison of Various Angles of Halo Pin Insertion in an Immature Skull Model

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Study Design.

A basic science biomechanical study involving an animal model.


To evaluate the effect of varying angles of halo pin insertion on the force generated at the pin–bone interface, and thereby the stability of the halo pin–bone interaction during insertion.

Background Data.

Because of variations in the shape and size of the pediatric skull, halo pins often are inserted at various angles rather than perpendicular to the skull. Concern exists that the high complication rate associated with pediatric halo use may result in part from less than ideal structural properties at the halo pin–bone interface.


The authors used a fetal calf skull model to simulate the thickness and structural properties of the pediatric skull. Halo pins were inserted at angles of 0° (perpendicular), 10°, 15°, and 30° into skull segments via a halo ring. Load generated at the pin–bone interface was measured using a modified mechanical testing device. Twenty trials were conducted per angle, with the endpoint being specimen failure, pin penetration, or maximum load.


Mean maximum loads per unit thickness were 82.15 ± 7.54 N/mm at 0°, 68.80 ± 4.79 N/mm at 10°, 51.49 ± 5.08 N/mm at 15°, and 42.38 ± 3.51 N/mm at 30°. There was a significant difference between perpendicular insertion (0°) and 15° and 30° angles of insertion. There was also a significant difference between the 10° and 30° angles of insertion.


Perpendicular halo pin insertion in an immature skull model was shown to result in increased load at the pin–bone interface. This improved structural behavior may help to reduce the incidence of complications of halo application in children.

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