Torticollis: Surgery?

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DEAR ERI COMMUNITY: I am working with a baby that is 8 months old. She presents with orthopedic deformities of the left hand and foot. She also has a torticollis on the left side. She has some mild tightness throuought the left side. I am writing concerning the torticollis. I have been working with her since she is 3 months old. She is not responding to the standard therapies for torticollis including massage, stretch, positioning, and kinesio taping. (We also have an appointment with an eye DR. to rule out the possiblity of this coming from the visual system) We are currently using a Tott collar and I am hopeful that we will see success. I am interested in knowing if there are any practitioners that have had children that required surgical intervention for a torticollis and if so how did they make that determination and what was the procedure like.

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4 Responses to Torticollis: Surgery?

  1. Claudia Kerns, PT, CIIM says:


    I would highly recommend that you refer to Karen Karmel-Ross’ text on torticollis. She discusses surgery as does Dr. Campbell in Physical Therapy for Children. Luckily none of my patients have had to have surgery. I have found that my moderate to severe torticollis patients take much longer to resolve the head tilting. And, many of them demonstrate that chain of tightness down the entire side of their body in which they tilt. Also, have experienced retraction of the opposite shoulder, external rotation of the opposite hip, and rotation of trunk to the side that they rotated their head. Some of these postures really seem to improve until they demonstrate a new skill. For example, they acquire creeping on all fours and it appears pretty symmetrical, but once they begin taking some independent steps, the external rotation of the hip and retraction of the shoulder reappears. Frustrating. I am happy to say that I have a couple of babies that had severe torticollis with much head tilting, ear to shoulder, but at 1 year of age demonstrate rare head tilting or no head tilt. Intensive strengthening activities through play really seemed to help. Best of luck to you. Torticollis can be so very frustrating!!

  2. Paula Lawson says:

    I went to a TMR for Tots class where they do not stretch the neck for torticollis, instead focusing on symmetry in the rest of the body,i.e. upper and lower trunk rotation, shoulder flexion, hip flexion/extension, lateral trunk flexion, and focusing on stretching to the easy side or good side, which results in improvement on the involved side. I have tried this with older kids, so it didn’t work as well as it might on a younger child. I have never had a client go through surgery, but my caseload is severe disabilities with many other issues, so torticollis is not the primary concern.

  3. Deb says:

    I also just started working with a 6 mo old girl with left torticollis. The family has been doing stretching since 1 mo and now began strengthening ex. The torticollis seems to be very persistant! I am wondering about using kinesio tape on the uninvolved side trying to encourage more right side scm activity. What tape techniques would you recommend, which side did you tape, what was the most effective, etc? Also, do you know of a good pediatric taping course? Sorry, more questions for your question…. I have not found many to use surgery here in Boston. Seemed to be a common procedure around the cleveland clinic where Karen carmel Ross is located. Her course is excellent.

  4. Cindy Miles is a very dynamic speaker who discusses all aspects of treatment of the infant and young child with torticollis, including manual techniques, taping, TOT collars, and indications for surgery and Botox. She is teaching her two day course for us in 2012 in NJ, AR and OR and she is also teaching it for us in 2013.
    Click here for Cindy Miles Course Details and to Register

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