Willens & Baez Personal Injury Lawyers, P.C. Articles Infant Torticollis - Chicago Birth Injury Attorneys

Infant Torticollis - Chicago Birth Injury Attorneys

By Matthew Willens  Aug. 30, 2016 6:52p

Infant Torticollis is also known as loxia or wry neck, and occurs when an infant’s neck is twisted. It results in the head tilting to one side and the baby’s chin points upwards. Infant torticollis can also result from birth trauma. However, in some cases, it occurs in later stages during infancy or childhood due to an accident or illness. Our birth injury attorneys believe that it is important to learn about the symptoms so that the child can receive timely treatment.

What is Infant Torticollis?

According to experts, infant torticollis is a common disorder, which occurs in both infant girls and boys. Babies with torticollis usually act and behave the same way as normal infants, except their neck restraints.

Causes of Infant Torticollis

Infant torticollis can occur for various reasons. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Forceps injuries
  • Vacuum extraction injury
  • Spine misalignment while in utero
  • Abnormal birth presentation, such as the breech position
  • Improper, forceful pulling by the doctor during delivery

Torticollis can also be acquired. In such cases, it can occur due to:

  • Tumors
  • Tonsilitis
  • Too much time spent lying down or in strollers, car seats, etc.
  • Grisel’s Syndrome
  • Accidents, such as a fall

Torticollis can also be inherited.

Symptoms of Infant Torticollis

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of Infant Torticollis include:

  • Constantly tilting/leaning the head in one direction
  • Head tremors
  • Headaches (which is difficult to determine in infants)
  • One shoulder may be higher on the body than the other shoulder
  • Neck pain
  • Neck muscle swelling (may be present right after birth)
  • Neck muscle stiffness
  • Awkward chin position

Diagnosis of Infant Torticollis

The doctors may perform a series of test to diagnose infant torticollis. These include imaging tests such as an MRI of baby’s brain, a CT scam of the infant’s neck, and an EMG to find out if and which of the neck muscles are affected. A pediatrician may also perform a physical exam to find out if there are any shortened neck muscles, and whether the head leans towards the affected side.

Treatment of Infant Torticollis

For infants under the age of three months, a technique known as static stretching is often used to re-position the affected neck muscle. However, if this treatment does not work, surgery may be the only option. However, surgery is usually performed only after the baby is around 4 years.

Long-Term Outlook

Most cases of infant torticollis can be treated successfully. Passive stretching and applied pressure on the area is known to help around 97 percent of the infants with torticollis. However, for the treatment to be successful, timely diagnosis is critical. In the absence of timely treatment, or if the treatment options do not work, the infant may develop long term problems such as tingling and numbness or chronic swelling in the affected area.

Can it be prevented?

Unfortunately, in some cases the condition is not preventable even if doctors use utmost precaution. However, if the doctor fail to diagnose and treat the injury in time, you may have a claim. Speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney at Willens Law Offices today for a free case evaluation.

Call Willens Law Offices today at (312) 957-4166

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