Torticollis in Non-Syndromic Unicoronal Craniosynostosis Is Predominantly Ocular Related

Emily T.C. Tan*, Parinaz Rostamzad, Yasmin S. Esser, Mieke M. Pleumeekers, Sjoukje E. Loudon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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(1) Background: 

Patients with unicoronal craniosynostosis (UCS) often show torticollis which can result from either an ocular cause or contraction of the sternocleidomastoid muscle. For clinicians, it is crucial to know the prevalence of ocular torticollis (OT) to ensure appropriate referral for treatment. Furthermore, associated ophthalmic features with OT in these patients are scarcely described. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of OT in non-syndromic UCS patients and investigate its associated ophthalmic features. 

(2) Methods: 

In this descriptive cross-sectional study medical records of non-syndromic UCS patients treated between 1994–2022 in one tertiary care hospital in The Netherlands were retrospectively reviewed. Collected data included: diagnosis and type of torticollis, binocular single vision (BSV), strabismus, ocular motility, alphabetical patterns, refractive error, and amblyopia. Patients were classified as OT, based on their ophthalmic and/or orthoptic diagnosis. Prevalence was determined with the 95% CI using the Clopper–Pearson exact test. Associations between OT and the ophthalmic features were determined using Chi-square or Fishers’ exact test and its effect size was calculated using Cramer’s V. 

(3) Results: 

In total, 146 patients were included, of whom 57 had torticollis. An ocular cause for the torticollis was found in 54 patients. The prevalence of OT was 37% (n = 146; 95% CI [0.292–0.454]). Significant associations were found between OT and strabismus (p < 0.001), ocular motility abnormalities (p < 0.001), alphabetical patterns (p < 0.001), and amblyopia (p = 0.002). BSV (p = 0.277) and refractive error (p = 1.0) were not significantly associated with OT. However, in OT the BSV was relatively poor (42.1%) and more frequently absent (26.3%) compared to the non-torticollis group (7% poor and 16.3% absent). In both groups, excyclotorsion was predominantly present (62.3%). 

(4) Conclusions:

In 95% of cases, torticollis in UCS patients is ocular-related. Overall, one in three patients with UCS have OT. This study emphasizes the importance of a timely referral of all patients with UCS with torticollis to an orthoptist and/or ophthalmologist, specialized in diagnosing and treatment of OT, before considering physiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6059
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by “Prof. Dr. Henkes Stichting”, project number 111356, funded by “Rotterdamse Stichting Blindenbelangen”, grant number HV/AB/B20210035, project number 112425 and “Stichting Lijf en Leven”, project number 72.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


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