Join Our Mission to Raise Awareness about Plagiocephaly Treatment
In a recent post, we attempted to answer the question of why plagiocephaly helmets are not available on the NHS. Having explored the research behind plagiocephaly helmets together with some of the many examples of successful treatment in the press, we were still unable to see a logical reason why parents do not have access to corrective treatment for their baby’s head shape on the NHS.
NHS Advice on Plagiocephaly Treatment
Here is the advice regarding the plagiocephaly helmet by the NHS as stated on their website:
“There are specially designed helmets and headbands that some people claim can help improve the shape of a baby’s skull as they grow.
These devices apply pressure to “bulging” parts of the skull and relieve pressure from other parts, potentially allowing growth in the flatter areas.
Treatment is started when the child’s skull is still soft, usually at around 5 or 6 months old, and the device is worn almost continuously (up to 23 hours a day) for several months.
But these helmets and headbands generally aren’t recommended because:
- There isn’t clear evidence to suggest they work
- They often cause problems such as skin irritation and rashes
- They’re expensive, typically costing around £2,000
- Your baby will need to be checked every few weeks to monitor their head growth and make any necessary adjustments
- They may be uncomfortable and distressing for your baby”
“You may consider using a helmet or headband if you’re worried about your child, but it’s not clear whether these always work.
You should also bear in mind the inconvenience, expense and possible discomfort for you and your child.”
Another recent study published in The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery (January 2014) looked at rates of parent satisfaction concerning the treatment and concluded that:
“More parents who used helmet therapy reported that they were satisfied with their child’s long-term head shape and would choose the same treatment again (P = 0.002) compared with those who used repositioning therapy.”
In spite of a wealth of convincing evidence, mounting pressure from the press and countless case studies, the NHS’s stance against treatment has become even firmer. Faced with this paradox, we have decided to start our campaign, challenging the NHS to advise that cranial helmets are the standard treatment for severe plagiocephaly. While we recognise that the NHS has difficulties with funding, we believe that this should not prevent them from providing parents with clinically sound advice.
Our Mission to Get Plagiocephaly Helmet on the NHS
We are incredibly grateful to all parents for helping us to spread the word, and ask that you continue to rally together to help end the NHS’s stigma against plagiocephaly treatment. Children who are not treated face living with a permanent deformity that could otherwise have been corrected, and we regularly receive calls from the parents of children and young adults asking if we can help them. Unfortunately, we can’t. The only option in these cases is open skull surgery.
There is immense strength in numbers, and the positive stories that you kindly share with us on Facebook and Twitter are a heartfelt testament to the importance of this cause. So keep sharing your experiences with other parents, and if you haven’t signed the e-petition yet, please do so.
Let’s not stop pushing until all the parents who need it have access to plagiocephaly treatment on the NHS, or at the very least, sound, clinically based information on the options that are available to them.
In the meantime, if you have a baby with severe plagiocephaly, Technology in Motion can help. Our TiMband treatment is safe, pain-free and highly effective, and while it might not yet be available on the NHS, several charities can help you raise funds if required. Call us on 0330 100 1800, and we will arrange an appointment with one of our clinicians.