Parents always ask how long their baby’s treatment should last for and the answer is difficult to be precise. The three main variables of treatment length are, whether the baby was born prematurely, the baby’s age at the start of treatment and the severity of the deformity.
In the first 3 years of life a baby’s head is expected to grow by almost 140mm in circumference and most of this growth is achieved before the age of 18 months with only 18mm more growth from then to the age of 3. This is why we need to start a treatment, and the earlier the better.
Before 4 months of age, growth is very rapid and in these early weeks it’s expected that your baby’s head will grow by 68mm. So, growth and changes are both rapid and before 3 months of age, we don’t really recommend treatment as there are huge opportunities for changes and improvements to happen. We always take prematurity into account and this can be a factor in reducing the length of time that a baby needs to wear the orthosis (helmet).
If the deformity is not large, we only need to add enough growth room to bring about correction. So, the younger that the baby is or for less severe deformity, the quicker the resulting treatment will be. Young babies of 4 months of age with a moderate deformity can complete treatment within 6 to 8 weeks. Older infants are growing more slowly and can have more rigid skull structures so these can take up to 3 to 6 months to complete treatment.
Those babies with very severe deformities always achieve a good result and if the baby is young enough, parents sometimes decide to continue to take the opportunity for more improvement with a second treatment. As the infants is older, second treatments will take longer to complete but they do add significantly to the end result.
So, the duration of treatment is growth dependent, not time dependent and parents are all different, some wanting to just get it finished and others who want to go on for longer. Either way, the treatment is always successful and we work hard to be honest in the duration and expectations that the parents can achieve.
Tel: 0330 100 1800