The condition in which the baby’s head is tilted by birth is known as congenital torticolis correction. The condition is also known as “wreck neck” or “twisted neck”. It is a condition in which the muscles get tightened and shortened. This condition can be present in a child at the time of birth or soon after the birth. Usually, it is identified during the first 6-8 weeks of life. During this period, the baby begins to gain more control over the neck and head. Some of the children with congenital torticollis correction tend to develop hip dysplasia. Torticollis can be acquired in certain cases.
The cause of congenital torticollis is not yet known. However, it is believed that the abnormal positioning or crowding of the baby in the uterus can be a factor that causes these kinds of deformities. Such crowding or abnormal positioning may result in an injury to the neck muscles. Researches state that, there are no prevention method or option available for congenital muscular torticollis.
There are non-surgical and surgical treatments available for correcting congenital muscular torticollis. One of the standard non-surgical treatment for congenital muscular torticollis is considered to be an exercise program which aims at stretching the sternocleidomastoid muscle. The exercise includes:
- Turning the baby’s neck side to side so that the chin touches each shoulder.
- Gently tilting the head to bring the ear on the unaffected side down to the shoulder.
These steps should be done several times a day. The doctor will teach you how to perform the exercises. Position toys and crib are the other non-surgical options available for congenital torticollis.
Surgical options are chosen when the non-surgical options fail to cure the issue. Most of the children do not require surgery. Around 10% of cases require surgery. Surgery is chosen only when the child reaches preschool years. Surgery is done to lengthen the short sternocleiodomasoid muscle. It will be done on an outpatient basis. Your child will be able to return home on the same day of the surgery.