A Parent’s Guide To Plagiocephaly and Cranial Reshaping
Plagiocephaly impacts nearly half of all babies born each year and cranial reshaping can address the condition successfully, especially with proper fitting and intervention. Today we explore the must-know details of the condition, its treatment, and how parents can best help their child as they go about treating the condition.
Plagiocephaly is a condition that impacts almost half of all babies born today. And while it can be confusing for parents to know what to do first when they realize their child may have the condition, getting proper care vastly increases the chances of a child recovering from the issue fully.
Today we’re exploring what plagiocephaly is, how parents can spot warning signs early on, and what methods are the most effective in addressing plagiocephaly including cranial reshaping.
What is Plagiocephaly
When a baby is born its skull is made up of a series of “plates” with gaps between them. As the child grows and develops these spaces become closed and the skull’s shape is formed.
In babies with plagiocephaly, the closing of the plates results in a flat spot in the skull that, while not damaging to the brain, is abnormal and visually noticeable.
What Causes Plagiocephaly?
The condition can be caused by a variety of factors including things that happen before, during, and after birth (from sleeping positions to torticollis to premature birth). It’s also commonly referred to as “flat head syndrome”.
What Can Parents Look Out For In Children?
Parents spend so much time with their children, especially when they’re newborns. So, it’s often understandable that they don’t immediately notice a small flat spot.
However, early detection is especially important in the treatment of the condition. So, you may notice that your child’s head is:
Flat in one area
Strangely shaped with an almost flat side or back of the skull
Notably wider in one area than in the other parts of the head
You may also notice bulging or sloped forehead areas, a misaligned jaw, uneven ears, and asymmetrical facial features.
A child need not have all of those features to be identified as a baby with plagiocephaly but a single or set of features like these can be a parent’s first sign that something is in need of their attention.
What’s The Best First Step Parents Can Take To Help Their Child With Plagiocephaly?
The first step in addressing a child’s potential plagiocephaly is getting the insight of a doctor or specialist.
What Do Doctors Recommend For Plagiocephaly?
Once you’ve connected with a doctor they may recommend a course of treatment that includes sleep position adjustment, tummy time and movement, physical adjustments, and cranial reshaping.
The needs of each child are unique but many children benefit from cranial reshaping, especially if initial treatment with other approaches has not been fully successful.
What Can I Expect Throughout This Process?
Overall, cranial reshaping is a multi-step process that you, your child, and your specialist will navigate through together. They are approved by the FDA and should ONLY be provided by an NJ Licensed Orthotist.
Your first appointment after your initial consultation will be to assess your child’s current cranial conditions and to plan your child’s cranial shape using a 3-D scan.
The second appointment will often be used as a fitting appointment
After the child is fitted and using the Helmet, you’ll have check-in appointments every few weeks to track your progress and make any adjustments that are required.
What Are The Types of Cranial Remolding Helmets?
There are an array of different cranial reshaping devices available. They’re often called things like bands or helmets but they all address the same condition: plagiocephaly. This means that it’s vital that you work with a specialist to find the right course of action for your child.
Some examples of these devices include The Boston Band and The STARBand.
The cranial reshaping approach is well fitted and does not apply pressure to the skull. Instead, it makes contact with the skull to guide the ongoing growth of the skull and reshapes it through contact without damaging the child’s skull or impacting brain development.
Bands typically weigh less than ten ounces, are worn most of the time (22+ hours per day), and are fitted and chosen based on the child’s head circumference and developmental level. While most parents are nervous about the potential discomfort associated with a cranial reshaping device, it’s often something they adapt to naturally.
Follow-ups and adjustments occur every few weeks and the course of treatment, while varied, can be between 3-5 months depending on your child’s needs.
Its car seat safe and easy to use.
You can remove the device for baths but it’s safe for sleeping in.
At their core, regardless of the brand name for these devices, they’re designed to promote more symmetrical growth while allowing for typical development in all other areas to progress.
If all cranial reshaping devices do the same thing, why are there so many different kinds?
Different devices may be developed with different patterns, ventilation options, straps, and materials. And this is purposeful on the part of the creators and manufacturers because it allows the specialist to select the appropriate type of band or helmet for their patient.
Your specialist will recommend the best option for your child from among this variety of options and will do so based on their unique needs and their developmental level.
Where To Start In Addressing Plagiocephaly With Cranial Reshaping
While every child is different, the best first step is to connect with a specialist or your primary care provider. Voice your concerns and work with them to develop a plan of action for your child.
The Body In Motion Team specializes in supporting children with plagiocephaly and we have the most cutting-edge approaches to cranial reshaping available today.
To learn more or get started give us a call at 1-888-BRACE-03 ( 1-888-272-2303)