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Congenital muscular torticollis: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment

Innate muscular torticum

Congenital muscular torticollis is a disease that appeared before or during the birth of a child, in which a pathological shortening of the sternocleidomastoid muscle is formed. In this case, the head of the crumb bends one way, the face looks at the other, and the neck itself becomes irregular in shape.

The sternocleidomastoid muscle is located on the neck and is attached at one end to the clavicle, and the second – behind the ear to the so-called mastoid process.

This congenital pathology stands at the third place in the frequency of occurrence after clubfoot and congenital dislocation of the hip. Very rarely is a bilateral muscle shortening.

There are 2 main reasons for the development of this pathology:

  1. Underdevelopment of muscle;
  2. Injury of the child’s neck during childbirth.

The causes of congenital maldevelopment have not yet been fully elucidated. Doctors suggest that the muscle could inflame in utero, or because of the increased pressure of the uterus on the head of the child (with hypertonicity), it was constantly turned in one direction, the cord entanglement can also lead to a permanent fixed position. Most doctors say that this is a congenital pathology, which was formed as a result of genetic defects in the formation of the sternocleidomastoid muscle.


With the correct and regular implementation of these measures, healing is already at the end of the first year, more often in the case of an unutterable degree of change. Parents should understand that if a set of non-operative techniques has produced a positive result, then do not forget about a systematic visit to the orthopedist, since the disease can return again.

The operation is shown to children from 1 year old if all non-operative techniques have proved ineffective. During the operation, the affected shortened muscle (connective tissue scar) is dissected, or its plastic is extended with an elongation (it is usually recommended from 4 years). The procedure of the operation can be determined only by the attending physician and largely depends on the individual characteristics of the child.

After the performed operation with the dissection of the muscle, a plaster bandage is applied to the neck for 1 month, keeping the head in the necessary correct position (the head turns in the opposite direction to the lesion). After removing the gypsum for six months, the child wears a special headband. After a long time, the courses of massage and physiotherapy are appointed. At the same time on the affected side, a stimulating massage is performed, and on a healthy side, a relaxing massage is performed.

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