Plagiocephaly

Plagiocephaly

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Plagiocephaly

Neck/Cervical/Head

What is Plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly is a condition where the skull is misshapen. The word “plagiocephaly” comes from the Greek for “oblique head,” and refers to a skull that is asymmetrical, with one side being longer than the other.

The condition can be treated with special orthotic helmets that help to reshape the head.

Why do babies get plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly is a type of craniosynostosis where one side of the baby’s skull is flattened. It happens when the bones on one side of the skull fuse together too soon, and it’s usually noticed during a routine newborn checkup.

The reason babies get plagiocephaly is because their heads are growing faster than their skulls can stretch to accommodate it. This means that the skull becomes misshapen and asymmetrical—and that can cause problems later in life.

What are the types of Plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, is a condition that occurs when a baby’s skull becomes misshapen because of pressure on the brain.

Positional Plagiocephaly

This form of plagiocephaly occurs when a baby spends time sleeping with their head in the same position for extended periods of time. It can be caused by sleeping on your back or sleeping in a car seat.

Congenital (Craniosynostosis)

If you have a child with this condition, they will be born with the bones in their head fused together. This can lead to plagiocephaly if they spend too much time lying down while their skull is still soft.

Pediatric Plagiocephaly

This type occurs in infants who are too young for surgery and can’t be treated with helmets. It’s temporary, but it can cause permanent damage if it isn’t corrected as soon as possible.

Deformational Plagiocephaly

This is caused by pressure on the skull from either an external force like being in an incubator or crib, or from something internal like hydrocephalus (an excess of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain). It’s not dangerous, but it is lifelong.

Symmetrical Plagiocephaly

This type of plagiocephaly occurs when there’s no external force causing it—it’s just naturally occurring because of how your child was positioned in utero during pregnancy.

What are the symptoms of Plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly is the medical term for a condition in which one side of the head grows more than the other. This can cause a long-term flattening of the skull, which may lead to developmental delays, sleeping problems, and difficulty feeding.

The symptoms of plagiocephaly include:

  • A flat spot on one side of your baby’s head that becomes more noticeable as your baby grows.
  • A bulging spot on the opposite side of your baby’s head.
  • Your baby’s head appears to be longer than it actually is when you measure from ear to ear or from eye to ear (a condition known as brachycephaly).

What are the causes of Plagiocephaly?

The most common causes of plagiocephaly include sleeping face down, sleeping with a pillow that is too thick or too soft, sleeping on your stomach (especially if you’re pregnant), and wearing a helmet for an extended period of time.

It can be caused by one of two things:

  1. The baby’s head is flattened on one side because he or she has slept in an improper position for long periods of time.
  2. The baby’s head is misshapen because the bones inside it have not grown together properly, which may be because of genetics or other factors.

What are the risk factors for Plagiocephaly?

The risk factors for plagiocephaly include:

  • Being born prematurely
  • Being born with low birth weight
  • Being a twin or triplet
  • Having an older sibling with plagiocephaly

How to prevent Plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly can be fixed with repositioning, but it’s best to prevent it from happening in the first place! Here are some tips for preventing plagiocephaly:

  • Put your baby down on his or her belly every once in a while. This will help develop your baby’s neck muscles and avoid problems in the future.
  • Make sure your baby sleeps on their back instead of their side or stomach. Placing them on their side could cause them to roll into a flat position, which can lead to plagiocephaly.
  • Use an infant car seat designed for rear-facing babies only until they weigh at least 20 pounds (about 4 months).

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What are the treatments for Plagiocephaly?

The most common treatment for plagiocephaly is helmet therapy. Helmet therapy involves using a helmet to reshape your baby’s skull so it grows into the correct shape. It’s important to note that while helmets can be effective in treating plagiocephaly, they don’t work in every case and should only be used under the supervision of a doctor.

If you’re concerned about your child having plagiocephaly or any other medical condition, we recommend speaking with your pediatrician immediately.

What type of helmet is used for Plagiocephaly?

The type of helmet used for plagiocephaly is a cranial helmet. The helmet is made of rigid plastic and has a soft moldable core that is inserted into the helmet. The helmet will be fitted to your child’s head and will have an adjustable band to ensure a snug fit.

The helmet should be worn 23 hours per day, except when bathing or swimming (you must remove the helmet during these times). The helmet should be worn until there is no longer a need for it, which could be anywhere from 2 to 8 months.

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Neck/Cervical/Head

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