Follow-up study of conservative treatment for atlantoaxial rotatory displacement

J Spinal Disord. 2001 Dec;14(6):494-9. doi: 10.1097/00002517-200112000-00005.


Rotatory displacement of the atlantoaxial joint is one of the causes of torticollis in children. Some of these cases show persistent symptoms and may lead to rotatory fixation; however, only a few studies have been directed to the prognosis of atlantoaxial rotatory displacement after conservative treatment. Clinical and radiographic reviews were performed in 35 patients (16 male and 19 female) with rotatory displacement of the atlantoaxial joint. The mean age at admission was 6.5 (range: 2-12) years old, and the mean follow-up period was 3.4 (1.4-5.8) years. All patients successfully achieved reduction after 2 to 3 weeks of continuous halter traction; however, 9 patients (25.7%) experienced recurrence, and 7 patients (20.0%) had a slight torticollis at follow-up. The duration of symptoms before treatment affected the recurrence rate, and the torticollis was apt to remain in cases with severe displacement at admission.

MeSH terms

  • Atlanto-Axial Joint* / diagnostic imaging
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Joint Dislocations / complications
  • Joint Dislocations / diagnostic imaging
  • Joint Dislocations / therapy*
  • Male
  • Radiography
  • Recurrence
  • Rotation
  • Torticollis / etiology
  • Traction
  • Treatment Outcome