What is Brachycephaly?
Brachycephaly is a condition characterised by a flattened area at the back of the skull. Most parents notice their baby’s brachycephalic head shape when their baby is around eight weeks of age, with their baby’s head appearing wider than expected and their ears sometimes being pushed outwards. A brachycephalic head shape can also involve a slight bulging on the forehead and a wide brow.
For babies with brachycephaly, the head is also often higher at the back and the whole back of the head can appear completely flat with the absence of any rounding towards the neck. Brachycephaly is a form of flat head syndrome and can be found either in isolation or in combination with plagiocephaly.
Flat Head Syndrome and the Nature vs. Nurture Debate
Is Flat Head Genetic?
Flat head syndrome is usually attributed to external pressures on the skull. Consistently resting the head in the same position while sleeping, sitting and playing can eventually cause a flat spot to emerge in babies. Flattening can also begin to occur before or during birth, often as a result of breech position or crowding in the womb, or when forceps are used during an assisted birth. But, is flat head syndrome genetic to some degree, or is it caused exclusively by these external pressures on the skull? (more…)
Mini Directory of Plagiocephaly Advice and Support Websites
Having a baby with flat head syndrome can feel rather overwhelming at times. While the condition is not proven to have a negative effect on development, it can still be distressing for parents who, naturally, want what is best for their little ones. But you are not alone. In the UK, plagiocephaly affects around half of all babies under the age of one to some degree.
No matter what stage of the plagiocephaly journey you and your family are at, there are several fantastic resources out there which you can turn to for plagiocephaly support. Whether you wish to share your experiences with other parents or seek advice on plagiocephaly from the experts, this mini directory will help you find the right places to go in times of need.
The truth about pillows for flat head syndrome
The incidence of flat head syndrome has soared since the Back to Sleep (AKA Safe to Sleep) campaign, and increasingly, parents have been looking for new ways to prevent and correct the condition. Plagiocephaly pillows are often used by parents to prevent flat head syndrome. As constant pressure on a hard surface is what causes flat head syndrome, these pillows mold to the shape of the head instead of pressing against it. Pillows for flat head syndrome are one of the cheapest and most readily available options, but do they actually work (and crucially, are they safe)? (more…)
If you suspect that your baby might have positional plagiocephaly, naturally you’ll be wondering how severe the deformity is relative to other infants, and whether or not you should seek treatment. But how is plagiocephaly measured, and what system is used as a severity assessment for Plagiocephaly? (more…)
Plagiocephaly and craniosynostosis are both conditions that result in skull deformities. Because of this they are often confused, but there are a number of key features that define each one as distinct from the other. Here we outline the difference between plagiocephaly and craniosynostosis to help give you an idea of their distinguishing features.
Flat head syndrome specialist Steve Mottram discusses the options that are available for reducing the incidence and severity of deformational plagiocephaly
The subject of flat head syndrome has been dividing the medical community both in the UK and internationally since the Back to Sleep Campaign of 1992 saw its incidence rise. There are two distinct schools of thought: advocates of ‘it’s only cosmetic’, and those recommending specialist treatments. (more…)
In many cases, flat head syndrome will self correct through repositioning, bringing it within the normal and acceptable range. However, where infants have moderate or severe flat head syndrome, this is unlikely to improve significantly without further intervention.
The question is, what constitutes mild, moderate and severe flat head syndrome? (more…)
Plagiocephaly can start to appear before or during birth but often takes a few weeks to become apparent. A parent or health professional may notice that the head has an altered shape with a flattening to the side or at the back. If this is severe, the face and forehead may also be asymmetrical, with one ear further forward than the other. There are many different factors that can cause Plagiocephaly in babies, and they all relate to the fact that infants are born with soft, malleable skulls. (more…)