Flat head syndrome is the umbrella term used to describe a number of specific flat head conditions which can appear in infants and babies, commonly caused by sustained pressure on a particular spot on a baby’s head. There are many contributing factors which can cause flat head syndrome and the condition usually becomes apparent in the first few months of a baby’s life.
With the sun finally (hopefully!) out and the summer holidays fast approaching, you may be concerned in case your baby’s plagiocephaly helmet should cause any problems.
The good news is that there’s no need to cancel your holiday, abroad or otherwise. A few short spells in the sun with the plagiocephaly helmet off won’t do any harm so long as it is worn the rest of the time. Provided that it’s only for an hour or two – during the middle of the day when it’s particularly hot, or when you’re both in the pool – you have no need to worry.
At Technology in Motion, we talk to worried parents everyday as they seek advice from leading orthotists about the concerns they have for their baby. By this time, parents have already overcome a number of obstacles, groundless reassurance, missed diagnoses and return trips to their GP to finally bring them to a free consultation with us. As forum threads continue to surface from popular sites such as mumsnet, babycentre and social media pages which are flooded with the same concerns, it seems one question is always at the forefront of many parents’ mind:
Brachycephaly is a condition which is characterised by a flattened area at the back of a baby’s skull. Brachycephaly is a form of flat head syndrome and can often be found in combination with plagiocephaly. If your baby has brachycephaly, you will notice at around eight weeks of age that your baby’s head will seem wider than you would expect, the ears seem to be pushed outwards and in some cases there will be a slight bulging on the forehead and your baby might have a wide brow. The head is often high at the back and the back of the head can look totally flattened with no rounding towards the neck.
For more information on brachycephaly and the key differences and similarities the condition has with plagiocephaly, read our earlier blog post explaining what is plagiocephaly and brachycephaly and how the terms tie in with flat head syndrome.
Since the Back to Sleep Campaign, there has been a dramatic rise in the incidence of plagiocephaly, and thus demand for treatment. Increasingly, parents are looking to specially moulded plagiocephaly helmets in order to treat the condition – only to discover that the NHS refuses to fund this kind of treatment. In fact, it is almost unheard of for parents to obtain a plagiocephaly helmet on the NHS.
Why is it that, in spite of mounting pressure from parents, private clinics and the press, the NHS is still refusing to change its stance on plagiocephaly helmets?
Many parents that contact us or visit us at our clinics often ask “what’s a normal head shape for a baby?” and “how can I tell if the flattening is plagiocephaly?” Although we would always advise that you visit one of our leading orthotists for a professional diagnosis if you are concerned about your baby’s head shape, this blog post offers some key indicators for recognising plagiocephaly and the steps you can take to treat the condition.
Following a diagnosis of plagiocephaly, parents often carry out extensive research online to try and understand exactly how the condition affects the brain or seek out clinical online studies to help them decide whether to treat and which treatment option will have the best results for their baby. Read more…
Craniosynotosis is a rare condition, found in around three in every 10,000 babies at birth. Craniosynotosis occurs when the joints (sutures) that join the plates which make up a baby’s skull prematurely fuse together. During birth, the sutures need to be flexible to aid the natural birthing process and they need to continue to remain open to allow the brain to grow naturally within the skull.
In many cases, flat head syndrome will self correct through repositioning, bringing it within the normal and acceptable range. However, where infants have moderate or severe flat head syndrome, this is unlikely to improve significantly without further intervention.
The question is, what constitutes mild, moderate and severe flat head syndrome? Read more…
When weighing up the pros and cons of plagiocephaly treatment, many parents ask us whether there is any risk of the condition returning once it has been corrected. We’re pleased to say that the answer to the question ‘Will plagiocephaly return?’ is always ‘No’.