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Congenital Torticollis

By

Simeon A. Boyadjiev Boyd

, MD, University of California, Davis

Last full review/revision May 2020
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION

Congenital torticollis is a birth defect in which the head becomes tilted at or soon after birth.

The most common cause of congenital torticollis is

  • Injury to the baby's neck during delivery

Torticollis that develops within the first few days or weeks of life may result from

  • A hematoma (which is a collection of blood) in the neck muscles

  • Fibrosis (which is an abnormal thickening of tissue)

  • Contracture (stiffening) of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (one of the neck muscles)

  • Klippel-Feil syndrome (fusion of the vertebrae in the neck, a short neck, and a low hairline)

  • Atlanto-occipital fusion (which is fusion of the first vertebra to the bottom of the skull)

To diagnose the defect, doctors do a physical examination. They may also do imaging tests to look for problems with the bones.

When torticollis is due to a birth injury, treatment includes rotating the head and stretching the neck. When torticollis is difficult to treat, doctors inject botulinum toxin into the stiffened neck muscle. The injections relax the stiff muscle.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
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Separation Anxiety and Stranger Anxiety
An important part of normal development is an infant’s growing attachment to its parents. As this bond strengthens, the infant may express fear or anxiety when the parents leave. This “separation anxiety” typically begins at around 8 months of age and resolves at around 24 months of age. Which of the following is the normal and expected infant behavior in reaction to a parent leaving the room during the time period of separation anxiety?
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