Flat Head Syndrome Treatment
Flat head syndrome is a common occurrence in babies due to the malleable nature of their skulls. It is the result of pressure placed on one area of their head, and this can happen in the womb, during birth or when the baby spends an extended amount of time in a certain position. In some cases, the flat head shape will correct itself. However; more severe cases may require a form of flat head syndrome treatment.
The treatment of flat head syndrome that we recommend depends on the baby’s age and the type of deformity. Plagiocephaly and brachycephaly are both forms of flat head syndrome that can be treated by non-surgical methods such as repositioning and custom-made helmets. We also see rare cases of scaphocephaly, which we may treat if there is no synostosis present.
Types of Treatment
0-4 Months: Repositioning Techniques
It may be that we recommend repositioning techniques, a flat head syndrome treatment which is ideal for babies suffering from milder cases. Read our analysis of flat head syndrome severity for a more detailed guide on the different stages of flat head syndrome. The earlier flat head syndrome is detected, the easier it can be corrected. Using recommended repositioning techniques and self-correction methods help to reduce a milder form of flat head syndrome in the early stages of deformity. Repositioning your baby onto their tummy will help to remove gravitational pressure from their head and prevent your baby’s head being moulded by the flat surface of a pillow or bed.
Keeping your baby on their tummy during playtime is a great repositioning technique which gives the head an opportunity to return to a more normal shape naturally. Tummy time can be achieved by placing a cushion under the chest and arms of your baby or using a specially designed tummy time mat as you supervise their playtime. Additionally, you should try to limit the time you use car seats and alternate sides when feeding your baby. At night time, encourage your baby to alternate which end of their cot they sleep on, place their toys on alternate sides and move their mobile or baby light every other night. Always supervise your baby when they are placed on their tummy and never allow this position when baby is asleep. Always place your baby on their back when putting them to sleep each night. Read more of our tummy time tips to make repositioning easier for you and your baby. Approximately 10% of the babies that we see don’t need corrective flat head treatment and repositioning techniques will provide an effective treatment.
4-14 Months: TiMband Treatment
After four or five months, our specialists can help reduce the severity of the deformity with orthotic flat head syndrome treatment. Between four and seven months is the ideal age for helmet therapy as repositioning techniques begin to have limited success. We offer flat head syndrome treatment up to fourteen months of age however for best results, we recommended treatment as early as possible.
Depending on age and head growth, treatment for flat head syndrome usually lasts from three to six months. Our experienced orthotists estimate how much your baby’s head will grow in a certain time period and when the TiMband helmet has been outgrown, it signifies the end of treatment. We are often asked if the baby will need a second treatment and the answer is usually no. If the head shape is very severe and the baby is young enough when they start, then occasionally we do recommend a second helmet. However, this is only needed in very extreme cases.
How do TiMband helmets work?
Every TiMband is custom-made for using a safe photographic scan. Once we have taken the scan and the paperwork is completed, we send this to the manufacturer who quantifies and modifies the head shape using CAD (computer aided design) software which allows growth within exactly defined limits. We don’t stop growth, we allow it to occur where we want it to be so that the head shape reforms towards normality. This modified head shape is then carved and the TiMband is made over this modified shape.
Your baby’s TiMband is made of a foam liner and lightweight co-polymer shell, which fits comfortably round the head. It’s impossible to hide the TiMband so we have lots of fun and attractive helmet pattern transfers that you can choose from. As the head grows naturally, the TiMband gently corrects the position and form of the head bones to develop a more normal shape
At the end of the treatment, we supply you with a USB with the before and after scans with software to allow you to see how your baby’s head shape has improved. Read more on why helmet therapy is an effective flat head syndrome treatment.
Find the Right Flat Head Treatment for your Baby
If you are concerned about your baby’s head shape and think you require flat head syndrome treatment, then our qualified specialists can offer personal and professional advice on the best way to reduce flat head syndrome. We treat every case of flat head syndrome individually and only offer flat head syndrome treatment that we believe will benefit your baby. For example, if your baby has a prematurely closed suture (synostosis), we cannot provide treatment and will refer you back to your GP and if necessary, contact your nearest craniofacial unit for further investigation.
If we are in any doubt about the nature of your baby’s head shape deformity, we will not offer treatment but advise that you seek further investigation and write on your behalf to help you find the most appropriate flat head syndrome treatment. We estimate that one in a hundred infants who see us has an unrecognised condition which requires further investigation. Find out more about our free consultation to assess the severity of your baby’s head shape and what flat head syndrome treatment we would recommend.