What is Craniosynostosis?
Craniosynostosis is a rare condition where a baby’s head isn’t growing properly and presents itself as an abnormal head shape. Babies have fourteen bones in their skull, nine in the lower part of the skull, the cranial base and five in the uppers skull, the cranial vault. We are concerned with the upper part of the skull, the vault. Each of the bones in the vault has gaps between them that are otherwise known as cranial sutures. These sutures remain open and flexible during infancy, and become gradually more firm throughout childhood, finally becoming more firm in young adulthood. Craniosynostosis occurs when one or more of these sutures fuse (close) prematurely.
Babies are born with flexible skulls that allow them to pass through the birth canal. At birth, the four upper plates in the skull and the single one at the back, the occipital bone, are connected by flexible ligaments called sutures. These allow the head to grow as the brain grows inside, which it does rapidly in early life. At the ‘corners’ of the bones, where three or more meet, there is a more open area called a fontanelle, otherwise known as a soft spot. Most people know about the one at the central front of the head, the anterior fontanelle, but there are actually six in the upper part of the head when the baby is born. Two on each side at the lower part of the skull, one at the back above the occipital bone, and the one that most people know about, the anterior fontanelle at the top front.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexpected death of an otherwise healthy baby. Although SIDS is rare, it affects just under 300 babies in the UK each year. As this usually happens during the first 6 months of a baby’s life, there are various ways parents can reduce the risk of SIDS in their baby:
Having recently completed his TiMband treatment with flying colours, Daniel’s mum, Rebecca, shares their journey. Read more…
With babies being so weak and unable to move themselves easily, it’s important to encourage safe tummy time while your baby is awake. This helps with the development of important muscles, while also taking the pressure off your baby’s head. This tummy time guide will provide you with the information you need to achieve the best results.
Treatment Checklist for Parents whose Babies have developed a The Flat Head Shape
For parents who have noticed a flattening on their baby’s head, this step-by-step checklist will cover the various treatment options available. This way, parents can be sure they have tried everything they can to improve shape before considering helmet treatment. Many of these techniques are also good practice for helping to prevent babies from developing a flat head. Read more…
Some parents notice that their baby’s head shape can be slightly misshapen. This can be due to a variety of reasons and usually shows as Plagiocephaly or Brachycephaly, which are caused by prolonged pressure on one part of the head. Sometimes, a head shape deformity can be due to the less common Craniosynostosis which is caused by early fusion of two or more bones in the baby’s head. The sooner parents notice and become aware of their baby’s head flattening, the quicker they can seek advice and work towards correcting it.
A cranial helmet to treat plagiocephaly works as a gentle remoulding treatment, gradually guiding a baby’s head shape towards the correct shape as the head grows.
Plagiocephaly can start to appear before or during birth but often takes a few weeks to become apparent. A parent or health professional may notice that the head has an altered shape with a flattening to the side or at the back. If this is severe, the face and forehead may also be asymmetrical, with one ear further forward than the other. Read more…