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Use of Combined Botulinum Toxin and Physical Therapy for Treatment Resistant Congenital Muscular Torticollis

Limpaphayom, Noppachart, MD*; Kohan, Eitan, MD; Huser, Aaron, MD; Michalska-Flynn, Malgorzata, PT; Stewart, Sara, BS; Dobbs, Matthew B., MD

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics: May/June 2019 - Volume 39 - Issue 5 - p e343–e348
doi: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000001302
Cervical Spine
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Background: Physical therapy (PT) alone is not always effective for treatment of congenital muscular torticollis (CMT). The adjunctive use of botulinum toxin (BTX) injection into the sternocleidomastoid, followed by PT, could provide correction and avoid more invasive surgery. Aims of the study were to review clinical and caregiver-reported outcomes of children with resistant CMT treated by BTX injection combined with a guided-PT program.

Methods: Medical records of consecutive children with resistant CMT treated by our protocol between 2010 and 2015 were reviewed. A minimum 2-year follow-up was required. Demographic parameters, numbers of BTX required and pre-BTX and post-BTX head tilt and range of neck rotation were recorded. A univariate analysis test was conducted to identify variables related to the need of repeated BTX injections. A phone interview with the caregivers was done regarding their satisfaction.

Results: A cohort of 39 patients with treatment resistant CMT were identified that had an average age of 14 (range, 6.5 to 27.6) months at initiation of BTX treatment. Multiple BTX injections were utilized in 21/39 (54%) of patients. No patient required tendon lengthening surgery. At the final evaluation, there was improvement in both head tilt (18.7±6.8 degrees vs. 1.7±2.4 degrees, mean difference (95% CI) 16.9 (14.6-19.3); P<0.001) and range of neck motion (56.0°±11.7 degrees vs. 86.0±3.8 degrees, mean difference (95% CI) 30.0 (26.1-33.9), P<0.001). Pre-BTX parameters were not associated with the requirement of repeated BTX injections (P>0.05). Caregivers were satisfied with the treatment protocol. No untoward effect was observed during the study period.

Conclusions: The proposed minimally invasive protocol provided correction of resistant CMT and obviated the need for more invasive surgical procedures.

Level of Evidence: Level IV.

*Department of Orthopaedics, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University in St. Louis

Therapy and Audiology Services, Saint Louis Children’s Hospital, St. Louis, MO

None of the authors received financial support for this study. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Matthew B. Dobbs, MD, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University in St Louis, 1 Children’s Place, Suite 4S-60, Saint Louis, MO 63110. E-mail: dobbsm@wustl.edu.

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