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Baby Toes

What is plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, is a condition in which your infant's head develops a flat spot or is misshapen. It usually affects one side of your baby's head. This makes your baby's head look abnormal or asymmetrical. Plagiocephaly can be divided into three types:

  • Plagiocephaly

  • Brachycephaly

  • Dolichocephaly / Scaphocephaly


How does the treatment work?

  • A cranial molding helmet is used to help to align skull bones while the cranium is growing.

  • Helmets rely on brain growth to help reshape the cranial bones. Brain growth is greatest between birth and age 12 months: during this time, skull bones are more malleable.


 *Helmets are not generally recommended after 12 months because brain growth has slowed.*

Treatment Plan

What is the recommended age?

If plagiocephaly is resistant to 2-3 months, a trial of conservative treatment can be used. A cranial molding orthotic may be used between ages 4-12 months.

  • 0-4months - Conservative treatment (positioning, tummy time, exercise, physical therapy)

  •  4-7 months - Best age to begin helmet therapy based on brain growth and skull bone malleability.

  • 7-12months - Cranial growth starting to slow, good results are still possible, may take longer.

How to prevent flat head?

  • Encourage tummy time

  • Alternate your baby's head position

  • Hold your baby

  • Frequently move your baby between places (crib, stroller, swing, etc)

  • Put your baby to sleep on their back at alternate ends of the crib

  • Minimize the time your baby is stationary during walking hours

  • Alternate holding positions during feeding time between right and left arm.

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