Positional Plagiocephaly is a flat spot on the back or side of a baby’s head. The condition can be mild to severe and may cause asymmetry to the baby’s head, face, eyes, jaw and ears.
Starting in the early 1990s, parents were told to put their babies to sleep on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS. While this advice has saved thousands of lives, experts have noticed a fivefold increase in misshapen heads since then. While it is important to place your baby on his/her back to sleep, there are steps that you can take to avoid a “flat head”.
Position is the most common cause of Positional Plagiocephaly.
Another common cause for Positional Plagiocephaly is TORTICOLLIS.
Some baby’s may seem to have a strong preference to look in one direction or may seem to “tilt” their head to one side. This can lead to a limited range of motion in the neck from muscles being tight. This is called Torticollis.(see our section on Torticollis for more information)
Some babies develop positional plagiocephaly in the uterus , sometimes from position and often with multiple births.
It is important that all babies heads are evaluated at every well visit by their pediatrician.
If an asymmetry or flattening is noticed early (prior to 4 months), repositioning or physical therapy may be recommended. If the asymmetry or flat spot does not seem to correct with this conservative management, the baby must be sent to a specialist for evaluation and treatment and a cranial orthosis (cranial band or helmet) may be recommended.
Only a specialist (Craniofacial Surgeon, Neurosurgeon, or recommendations from a qualified Orthotist) can determine what type of treatment is best for your baby’s condition. It is important that you, the parent are given all of your options. this will allow you to make an informed decision and decide what is best for your child.
If you decide to go with a Cranial Remodel Orthosis (CRO) it is important that you ask questions.