Sunday, August 12, 2007

Wry Neck Geeks

Please let me offer this very cute photo (okay, I'm a starry-eyed mom but really, aren't they adorable?) in lieu of the wet noodle whipping I ought to be getting for not blogging on anything approaching a regular basis. My only excuse is -- well, look at the photo! There ARE two of them. And the older they get, the more they want one-on-one time with Mommy. Can't say I blame them, but there's only so much time... so the blog gets short shrift these days.

The newest thing yanking my chain is my darling sons' torticollis and plagiocephaly. (Hah! Have twins and you too can start learning all the words you need to become a medical transcriptionist! In your spare time!) We're not sure where the torticollis (aka "wry neck") came from, though it can occur in utero, especially with twins. But I keep beating myself up because when they first came home, I would put them on their backs, but when they turned their heads to the left, I always just left them there because it seemed to me that if they spit up, they would not choke. Chicken and egg time -- maybe the turning came first, or maybe gravity turned their heads and leaving them there caused the torticollis. Who knows.

In any case, their heads were round as little apples at first, due to the C-section and not having to get squished in the birth canal like the rest of us, but now they look like wax heads that someone left out on a hot sidewalk. (Well, okay, maybe not so much. There could be a bit of hyperbole in there.) Gus's head is a little odd looking, but it seems to be rounding up some now that we have been doing the physical therapy for a few weeks. Sam's head, however, definitely has that trapezoidal look. His head is definitely flattened on the side in the back, and the placement of his ears is not remotely symmetrical.

So Dr. Pixie gave us a referral to the "head clinic" down in Oakland, but there's a glitch. The specialist they were going to see ordered a CT scan to be done on each of them here, before they ever went to see her. This is normally done to check for craniosynostosis, a condition where the sutures of the skull fuse prematurely. However, this condition is pretty rare (a lot more rare than positional plagiocephaly), and Dr. Pixie said she's pretty sure they don't have it. Not being familiar with CT scans at all, I started reading up on infants and CT scans -- and found something I didn't like, not one little bit.

It seems that a Dr. Per Hall in Sweden did a study recently that seems to show that CT scans could affect kids' IQ scores in the future. Or ... not. There's a bit of controversy about the way the study was done. Still, intuitively, I could believe this. A CT scan gives you about 25 times more radiation (or even more than that) than an ordinary X-ray. I mean, really, do I want my kids to have the equivalent of 25 X-rays at this age, when positional plagiocephaly is a cosmetic issue, not a developmental one? I think not. I mean, what happens if they fall off the coffee table a month from now and have to have a CT scan? Now, mind you, radiologists are supposed to have a light hand when it comes to doing CT scans on infants, but this interesting discussion of the Swedish study references yet another study that seems to show that a majority of CT scans are done with too much radiation, since radiologists typically want to get nice "clear" pics.

Altogether, this info made me completely queasy (and I mean that literally) about putting my kids' heads anywhere near a CT scanner. Just ain't happening, at least not without a lot more reassurance. I talked to D (who, in another lifetime, was an engineer in our nation's nuclear Navy) and he agreed with me. So the CT scans were cancelled, and now it looks like the Oakland specialist won't see them without the scans. Oh, great. But wait -- Dr. Pixie scared up a referral to another specialist, a plastic surgeon who sees a lot of these cases and who does not use a CT scan typically. This doc has amazing credentials, has published papers, etc., and is clearly more qualified than Oakland doc. That's all terrific, but... he's two solid hours away. That's two hours in each direction, with twins in the back seat. Did I mention that I'm a recovering phobic-everything? Agoraphobia, bridge phobia, social anxiety disorder, you name it. I used to be a galloping mess anytime I went out in public or on a highway. I'm mostly recovered, these days, but the thought of two hours on the highway shepherding my little guys around makes me pretty sweaty and nervous.

So tomorrow I'll call Dr. Wonderful's clinic and see if he can recommend someone closer to home who doesn't feel the need to irradiate my children's heads for fun and giggles. If he can't ... then the squeegy-like sound you hear after that will be me grinding my teeth to keep from screaming as we swoosh down the on-ramp!


Blogger mcloven said...

Hi. My son has torticollis. I was just googling it and discovered that children conceived via IVF have twice the chance of getting a musculoskeletal defect such as torticollis. My son is an IVF baby. I'm finding that most women whose children have torticollis were also IVF babies. Just wanted to share.

Your twins are gorgeous and I hope you resolve the torticollis issue as easily as possible. :)

12:44 AM  

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