Persistent fixed torticollis due to atlanto-axial rotatory fixation: Report of 4 pediatric cases

Luisa Chiapparini, G. Zorzi, T. De Simone, C. Maccagnano, B. Seaman, M. Savoiardo, C. Corona, N. Nardocci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Atlanto-axial rotatory fixation (AARF) is a rare cause of childhood torticollis that may occur spontaneously or in association with trauma and upper respiratory infections. We describe the clinical findings, as well as the effectiveness of imaging in the diagnosis and the treatment of 4 children with AARF, in whom acute fixed non-dystonic torticollis was the presenting symptom. Onset of torticollis was spontaneous in Case 1, after general anesthesia for cholesteatoma surgery in Case 2, after a trauma in Case 3, and during hypersomnia in Case 4. Duration of torticollis prior to diagnosis was 3 months in the first two patients and 20 days in the other two. All the patients underwent cervical X-rays examinations, which were not contributory to the diagnosis, followed by CT, which demonstrated C1-C2 rotatory fixation. One patient had a spontaneous resolution; treatment with Gardner's tongs and soft collar permitted restoration of the normal alignment in the other 3 patients. AARF must be considered in all the patients with persistent painful torticollis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-49
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005


  • Atlanto-axial rotatory fixation
  • Computed tomography
  • Conservative treatment
  • Torticollis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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