deformational plagiocephaly

Deformational Plagiocephaly

Many parents who notice that their baby has deformational plagiocephaly often speak to their Health Visitor or Doctor, and are then usually told that the condition isn’t serious. The decision as to whether treatment is required or not is determined by the severity of the condition and most UK doctors won’t 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 PlagiocephalyDeformational plagiocephaly is based upon visual inspection and measurement of your baby’s skull. If the head shape is not typical of 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. Surgery is required for correction in these cases.

The Severity Scale of Deformational Plagiocephaly

The deformity may be to only 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.
Advice: This will not fully self-correct. TiMband™ treatment is recommended.

Deformational Brachycephaly

After four or five months, our specialists can help to reduce the severity of deformational brachycephaly by providing advice or orthotic treatment. It may be that we recommend repositioning techniques, such as keeping your baby on their tummy during playtime, to give their head an opportunity to return to a more normal shape naturally. Approximately 20% of the babies that we see don’t need corrective orthotics as the deformity is not severe and will become unnoticeable over time.

Deformational Brachycephaly

Deformational brachycephaly indicates no obvious signs of improvement and for a head shape that is moderate to severe, which is the most severe 5% of the population, we may advise that you consider a TiMband™.

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 it checked out, we offer a specialist service that includes plagiocephaly/brachycephaly diagnosis, advice and treatment. Call us on 0330 100 1800 to arrange an appointment or for information on diagnosis and treatment.