Tag Archives: TiMband

Can Flat Head Helmets Cause Brain Damage?

Does using a Helmet to correct a plagiocephaly affect a Baby’s Brain?

We often have parents come and see us who are concerned that the misshaping of their baby’s head will have an affect on their brain.

TiMband helmetThe good news is that plagiocephaly does not affect brain development. Head size is dependent on the brain size; head shape is dependent on external forces which can either deform or reform. To gain a better understanding of how your baby’s brain does develop, here is a brief look at the growing process it goes through from conception to birth and beyond.

The brain is a most forgiving organ with huge opportunity to make new connections all through life. Throughout history, cultures and civilisations have been deliberately modifying the head shape of infants for tribal, cultural or hierarchy reasons. The current issue with head shape deformation is that the ‘odd’ shape that develops in the first few months of life is an unintended consequence of an infant lying in one position for too long, creating a flattening as the head develops.

A baby’s brain grows and develops from conception and at birth the brain is about a quarter of the size of an adult brain. By this time it has millions of cells, synapses and connections and is at its most ‘plastic’ ready to continue growing and learning.  Before birth, babies are already learning, developing the nerve connections to muscles, heart and all their senses like touch, hearing, taste and sight. Therefore, at birth we are ready to breathe, cry, suck and even recognise our mother’s voice.

In the first 6 months, a baby’s brain doubles in size before doubling again in the next six months. This amazing growth rate is accompanied by developing connections to allow the processing of a huge amount of new information and experiences to form a firm foundation for early and adult life.

As the brain grows, the skull must remain flexible to accommodate this rapid amount of growth and all the sutures remain open and the bones of the skull remain flexible, gradually becoming firmer right through to and beyond the point of skeletal maturity at age eighteen to twenty. This is when the long bones in our body have stopped growing and the hormonal changes that happen during puberty have run their course.

Bones do remain plastic and there is continual bone reformation throughout life, which is how bones can heal when they are broken. The skull can also continue to change and the ultimate head shape depends on the start point. Sadly, many infants develop such a severe head shape deformity that they will never be able to get back to a normal skull shape.

When we fit a TiMband helmet to a baby, we allow growth to continue at a normal rate. What the helmet does is to allow the growth to be directed where we need it to, to bring about a greatly improved, corrected, more normal head shape. By doing this early in life, we give the babies that we treat a massively improved opportunity to develop normally and to be able to engage in all activities that require head protection, such as cycling, skiing, horse riding and in adult life, motor cycling, coasteering, being a surgeon, join the military, the police, or working in construction.

We know that we give the babies that we treat the opportunity to become the people that they are meant to be and enable them to have opportunities that they may not be able to if their head shape was not within the normal range.

plagiocephalyThe gentle, soft cell lining inside the helmets corrects the head shape as the brain grows in such a way that is safe for the baby and pain free. You can read more about our TiMband Treatment on our website.

 

Baby Flat Head Syndrome Concerns – Coby’s Plagiocephaly Story

Plagiocephaly or Brachycephaly, also commonly known as baby flat head syndrome and the use of corrective helmets has sparked many debates over the past few weeks. Although some babies who develop the condition in their early months have some improvement at the early stage using various repositioning techniques, other more severe cases can benefit from further medical treatment.

One mother who has recently experienced the condition firsthand is Andria Donnison, whose son Coby was born with Plagiocephaly. She first voiced her concerns to her health visitor when Coby was between 2-3 months, but was assured that it would correct itself once he started rolling over.

Due to her daughter’s concerns it was Andria’s mother, Carol, who sought further advice and came across Technology in Motion, a company which has been providing plagiocephaly treatment since 2003. Technology in Motion found Coby’s condition to measure within the severe range and recommended that they begin treatment in the form of a TiMband Plagiocephaly helmet. As the condition is still widely considered to be cosmetic, the helmets are not available on the NHS and cost the family  £1,950.

Andria said, “At first I was upset and also worried about the costs involved, but thanks to the support of our family, friends and the local community we managed to raise enough money for Coby’s helmet and awareness about the condition at the same time. I’m often approached by other mothers in a similar position who have also been told that their baby’s head will correct itself but have found otherwise. Having had such a positive experience with Technology in Motion I always recommend that they get a second opinion, even if it’s just for peace of mind.”

The local businesses in Bridlington came together, donating funds and items to raffle for the family to help raise the funds for Coby. He has since become quite the local celebrity, constantly recognised with his blue helmet and big smile.

At 11 months old, Coby has now finished his treatment, leaving the family doubting whether his head would have ever corrected itself had they left it.

Sandie Waddell, Coby’s Orthotist said, “Coby’s head shape had a very severe deformity before we started treatment and now you can’t even tell that there had been a problem. We know how difficult it is for the parents who come to see us but we also know what we can do for these little ones. Coby was 5 months old when they started treatment and 11 months old at the end of treatment. He started with an asymmetry of 17mm which improved to 4mm and a CI (width / length ratio) of 97% which improved to 87%. I am delighted with the result of his treatment and wish him and his family well for the future.”

Coby’s before and after head shapes are shown below.

 

 

Successful Flat Head Helmet Treatment for Alice

Alice Completes TiMBand Treatment

Alice graduated today from her TiMband treatment

We’d like to share Alice’s Plagioocephaly and Bracycephaly story with you. Alice’s Mum and Dad, Leanne and Craig brought her to see us when she was 5 months of age and they were worried that Alice’s head shape was ‘not right’ and wanted our opinion to see if we could help her. They’d tried repositioning but her head shape wasn’t improving at all.Looking down on the top, a normal head shape should look a bit like an egg with the length front to back being longer than the width. The normal head width is about 4/5 of the length and Alice’s head was much wider than this with the width being 99%, just 1mm narrower than it was long. A wide head shape is called a brachycephaly. Alice also had a difference across the diagonal measurements of 25mm which is quite a severe plagiocephaly.Leanne and Craig decided to ask us to treat her with a TiMband and Alice was discharged today after wearing the helmet for 5 months. She’s had a great result with both the width and the asymmetry coming into the normal range. The asymmetry is now 4mm and the width in relation to the length is 83%.

Here are her before and after scans which show a really nice result and great improvement in symmetry in the face and at the back of the head.

Mum is delighted and cannot believe how amazing Alice’s head looks now.

Well done Alice!!

How to Treat Baby Flat Head

The Treatment for Flat Head Syndrome or Plagiocephaly

Plagiocephaly, commonly known as flat head syndrome, is the medical term for a condition that affects as many as two out of every ten babies. Flat head syndrome develops when a baby repeatedly lies in the same position. This can occur when parents aren’t aware that they need to change an infant’s position during the day or because of problems with neck muscles. An infant’s skull is so soft that flat surfaces can actually mould the shape of an infant’s head. Since 1992 when the American Paediatric Society began recommending that infants sleep on their backs to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), paediatricians have seen a six-fold increase in flat head syndrome. This experience is reflected in the UK since this advice was adopted. Babies must always be placed on their backs to sleep and this has saved thousands of lives. During the day when they’re awake and Mum is with them, babies should be placed on their tummies and pressure relieved from the back of the head.

Plagiocephaly may be associated with brachycephaly, a type of flat head syndrome where the head shape is very wide and the flattening appears across the back of the head. With brachycephaly, the back of an infant’s head flattens uniformly, causing the crown to be wider and taller while the distance between temples and chin may be longer. Brachycephaly is also classified as flat head syndrome, and responds to many of the same interventions.

Parents are usually the first to be aware of flat head syndrome. They may notice a flat spot on the back or side of their infant’s head where hair growth is noticeably sparser. Their baby’s ears may not be symmetrically aligned or some other facial asymmetry may be present. When torticollis, a tight neck muscle is a factor, a baby’s head may appear to be tilted to one side the much of the time.

In the vast majority of cases, plagiocephaly caused by a restrictive sleeping position responds to simple therapies. Yet the diagnosis itself can be so intimidating that some parents may be frightened of interacting with their babies in a normal way that includes tummy time and playing to relieve pressure on the flat spot. A baby with a flat head is no more fragile than any other baby.

Repositioning techniques are the best intervention for simple flat head syndrome. You’ll want to position your baby in his or her crib so that the affected side is not lying flat. When your baby is lying down, encourage active turning of the head by hanging a mobile or some other bright object where the baby will want to look at it. Limit the time your child spends in car seats, carriers and pushchairs with flat backboards that press up against his or her head. When holding, feeding, or carrying your baby make sure to reposition so that the flat spot is not pressing against you. Slings and other baby carriers which position your baby’s face towards your body benefit a baby with a flat head by decreasing the amount of time spent with pressure to the back of the head.

Some parents misinterpret the Foundation for Sudden Infant Death (FSID) guidelines to mean a baby should never be placed on the tummy. This is simply not the case. Supervised tummy time is good for your baby. Tummy time helps babies develop control of their head and neck muscles and overall hip and spine development, it also encourages bonding, particularly if you are comfortable enough to get down and interact. Try putting your baby’s rattle and toys just out of reach so he or she is encouraged to reach for them.

More severe cases of flat head syndrome may require physiotherapy and/or a corrective helmet. If your interventions don’t seem to be working, research the alternatives which will be able to help.