Treatment and Evaluation of Plagiocephaly

If you’ve noticed that your infant has a flat spot or asymmetrical shape and are ready for an evaluation, it can be worrisome and bring up even more questions. How do they evaluate my baby? Will it be painful? If my baby has plagiocephaly, how do they treat it? Will the orthotist listen to my concerns and answer my questions?

It begins with you, the caregiver. We know your first time visiting can be nerve racking as you worry that your infant is OK. Some of us here at Strive O&P have been on the other side and more than understand the feelings that a parent has when confronting a strange and scary diagnosis.

Evaluations are always pain-free and so is the treatment. We begin with basic history and our orthotist does some hand measurements and some questions about how and when the plagiocephaly was first noticed. We measure the head from several angles to determine severity of the condition.

Once we’ve gathered all of the required information, your orthotist will discuss treatment options with you. If they are in the 95% of mild or least severe and less than four months, the orthotist will discuss re-positioning techniques to help improve your baby’s head shape. Re-positioning involves varying the position of your baby’s head during feeding, playing and sleeping as well as use of tummy time. We will still recommend that you place baby to sleep on their back as it dramatically lowers the risk of SIDS.

For mild cases, re-positioning will work, but in moderate to severe cases the baby’s head will retain the flat shape unless other therapies are used. If your baby is over four months old and has moderate or severe plagiocephaly, re-positioning is unlikely to be effective.

When moving past re-positioning, we do an assessment scan to give us a baseline and an accurate 3D image of your baby’s head shape. This is completely painless and most often the baby sits on your lap while we use a small handheld scanner that does 3D imaging without the use of lasers. If the asymmetry is moderate or severe, the orthotist will recommend therapy with the use of a STARband® Cranial Remolding Orthosis (CRO), also known as a Cranial Band, Cranial Remolding Helmet or Baby Helmet.

The STARband® CRO allows the head to gently reshape by encouraging growth of the skull to proper proportions. STARbands are made from lightweight, soft foam with a rigid exterior for maximum comfort and are pain and discomfort free for your baby.

The remolding orthosis is made from the scan we did so that it fits exactly to your baby’s head shape and is ready with in 10 days of your initial scan. At the end of the evaluation, if a scan was done, we send you home with a copy of the data so you can review it later. As treatment progresses, we see your baby every 2-3 weeks to do measurements and adjust the shape of the orthosis to promote maximum growth. Our goal is always 100% correction and can take between 3-5 months.

We are always here to help and if you have a question after hours, we provide you with a number so you can speak directly to the orthotist. Worried about a small red spot? You can text a photo to the orthotist and they can advise you over the phone.

At the end of treatment, we do a final scan and send one home with you as well as sending a full symmetry report to your pediatrician or referring physician.