Our daughter was a healthy 8 year old until a case of Strep Throat followed by antibiotics caused inflammation severe enough to eventually dislocate her C1-C2 vertebrae. At the time, no one knew and she was diagnosed with torticollis, which is severe muscle spasm of the neck. That was back in November 2012. We saw several specialists - ENT, physiotherapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists. However, the orthopaedic spine surgeon suspected there was more and ordered a CT scan. The results revealed atlantoaxial subluxation, or dislocated C1-C2. The name of this condition is Grisel's. It is a rare condition.
At the beginning of July 2013, she went under general anaesthesia, had manual manipulation to realign the vertebrae, and Gardner-Wells tongs placed in her skull to apply weighted traction for a week in the hospital. Afterwards, she was fitted with a traction brace (halo vest). The brace is meant to stay on for 3 months.
However, a little over two weeks after the procedure, the X-ray revealed that the C1 vertebrae has not moved back to its proper position. It seems that the transverse ligament is not tight enough to pull the C1 back into place. The doctor has recommended C1-C2 fusion. Knowing nothing about it at the time, the procedure sounded severe. Now, I am wondering why such a life-changing and severe procedure for such a young child who should theoretically heal well as she is growing and can repair damaged ligaments?
Mom at a loss