Parents who notice that their baby has plagiocephaly may speak to their Health Visitor or doctor who will usually reassure that the condition is not serious. The decision as to whether treatment is required or not is determined by the severity of the condition and most doctors in the UK will not recommend treatment. However, severity can range from a mild flattening with no facial deformations to significant asymmetry with secondary facial asymmetry, ear displacement and cheek deformation.
Deformational Plagiocephaly is based upon visual inspection and measurement of your baby’s skull. If the head shape is not typical of a deformational Plagiocephaly we may ask for further investigations to confirm that all the sutures (flexible joints between the head bones) are open and able to move If they are not, this is called a synostosis and can occur in one or more of the sutures between the cranial bones in which case surgery is required to correct this.
The severity scale of Deformational Plagiocephaly:
The deformity may be only to one side of the head, or it may also be to the back of the head. Usually, there is a combination of the two types of head shape deformity.
Type 1: Severity – Normal. Slight flattening on one quadrant at the back of the head.
Advice. Watch and reposition. No treatment required.
Type 2: Severity – Mild. As Type 1 plus ear shift on the same side as the flattening.
Advice. Watch and reposition. See Physiotherapist or Osteopath to ensure that the neck muscles are OK and there is no asymmetric tightness.
Type 3: Severity – Moderate. As Type 2 plus forehead deformity on the same side as the flattening. Advice: Watch and reposition. If over 5 months old this will probably not self-correct fully. TiMband treatment will correct this.
Type 4: Severity – Severe. As Type 3 plus cheek face and jaw asymmetry. The eye on the flattened side will be more open than the other side. Advice: This will not fully self-correct. TiMband treatment is recommended.
Type 5: Severity – Severe. As Type 4 plus asymmetric height displacement at the back of the head and/or bowing of the temple area on the affected side. Advice: This will not fully self-correct. TiMband treatment is recommended.
After four or five months, our specialists can help reduce the severity of the deformity of brachycephaly by providing advice or orthotic treatment. It may be that we recommend repositioning techniques – such as keeping your baby on its tummy during playtime – to give the head an opportunity to return to a more normal shape naturally. Approximately 10% of the babies that we see don’t need corrective orthotics, as the head is not very severe and these will become unnoticeable in time.
Deformational Brachycephaly indicates no obvious signs of improvement and a head shape which is moderate to severe – these are the most severe 5% of the population – we may advise that you consider using a TiMband, our unique treatment and management system.
The severity scale of Deformational Brachycephaly:
Type 1 (or 6A): Severity – Mild. Central occipital flattening ad the back of the head. Advice: Watch and reposition. No treatment required
Type 2 (or 6B): Severity – Moderate. Widening of the posterior skull. Advice: If under 5 months of age, reposition. If older than 5 months of age, seek advice from a Physiotherapist or Osteopath. This will not fully self-correct and TiMband treatment will improve the shape if parents wish to use it.
Type 3 (or 6B): Severity – Severe. As type 2 plus deformation at the temple area, above the ears and vertical height displacement at the back of the head. Advice: This will not fully self-correct. TiMband treatment is recommended.
If you are concerned about your baby’s head shape and wish to have this checked out, we offera specialist service that includes plagiocephaly/brachycephaly diagnosis, advice and treatment. Call us on 0330 100 1800 to arrange an appointment, or for more information on diagnosis and measurement.