Can A Tight Sternocleidomastiod Muscle From Torticollis Be Released?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I wanted to know if he can help me with a congenital condition I was born with. Unfortunately I was born with Muscular Torticollis where one of my neck muscle are contracted and no longer a ordinary muscle. It’s is shortened and stuff to the point where I have never have a adequate rotation of my neck. I wanted to see if the doctor knows about my current condition and is willing to set up a consultation online for hopefully surgery. I will attach some photos of my neck. Thank you for your time.

A: I have surgically treated tight/short SCM muscles in young children previously from torticollis….but never in an adult. My concern would be that even if the muscle was released that it would have no beneficial effect on your neck range of motion. Even in children such a release and with postop physical therapy the degree of improvement in neck range of motion is underwhelming. This is because the problem is not just in the SCM muscle but often there are vertebral anomalies as well.

I would imagine that in an adult who has had this issue since birth that neck muscle release would produce equally limited improvement.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana