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Open Access Research article

The value of high-frequency and color Doppler ultrasonography in diagnosing congenital muscular torticollis

Lei Wang, Lingyan Zhang, Yuanjiao Tang and Li Qiu*

Author affiliations

Department of Ultrasound, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, No.37 Guo Xue Xiang, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, 610041, China

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Citation and License

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012, 13:209  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-209

Published: 26 October 2012



Congenital muscular torticollis (CMT) is a relatively common neck deformity in infancy. The aim of our research was to determine the value of high-frequency and color Doppler ultrasonography in diagnosing CMT.


Patients with a clinical suspicion of CMT underwent an ultrasound examination before diagnosis, and the sonographic characteristics were analyzed and compared with the clinical findings.


The sensitivity and specificity of an ultrasound diagnosis for CMT was 95.83% and 83.33%, respectively. The patients were divided into 2 groups based on the stage of the disease: the early-stage group (age <1 year) and the late-stage group(age ≥1 year). Differences existed between the two groups with respect to sonographic findings and clinical characteristics. The sonographic characteristics of the early-stage group included local thickening of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM), weak or uneven echoes, and blood flow signals around or inside most of the lesions. The sonographic characteristics of the late-stage group included diffusely hyperechoic, or cord-like hyperechoic signals inside the muscle layer without significant blood flow signals.


Different stage of CMT patients had different sonographic characteristics. High-frequency and color Doppler ultrasonography can serve as adjunct confirmation tool for the diagnosis of CMT.

Sternocleidomastoid muscle; Congenital muscular torticollis; Musculoskeletal imaging; High-frequency ultrasonography; Color Doppler ultrasonography