Can Flat Head Syndrome Cause Brain Damage?
Following a diagnosis of plagiocephaly, parents often carry out extensive research online to try and understand exactly how the condition affects the brain or seek out clinical online studies to help them decide whether to treat and which treatment option will have the best results for their baby. (more…)
Study to investigate the behavioural, cognitive and neurological impairments associated with craniosynostosis and plagiocephaly
In 2012, we received a piece of news regarding USA research on craniosynostosis and plagiocephaly. This article highlighted the Department of Pediatric Psychiatry at Seattle Children’s Hospital’s participation in an NIH-funded study of the neurobehavioral correlates of craniosynostosis. This craniofacial disorder is characterized by the premature fusion of two adjoining plates of the skull, which result in malformations and dysmorphology of the head in the absence of corrective surgery.
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.
When weighing up the pros and cons of plagiocephaly helmet treatment, many parents ask us whether there is a risk of the condition returning once it has been corrected. We have also found that some parents whose babies are reaching the end of their treatment are also wondering this. However, we’re pleased to reassure parents that plagiocephaly will not return after helmet treatment.
How does plagiocephaly affect the head and face?
Plagiocephaly is predominantly identified by a flattening either at the back or to either side of the skull. As a direct result of this flattening, facial features can become misaligned and other issues may develop. The facial features subject to the most change include the eyes and the ears. As such, facial asymmetry is also regarded as a good indication of plagiocephaly.
Do cranial helmets influence ear position in babies with plagiocephaly?
In 2012, a paper was published in the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery exploring whether or not helmet therapy, such as TiMband treatment, influences the ear position in babies with positional plagiocephaly.
This is a question that we are often asked but it’s a difficult one to answer, as the changes can be so subtle.
Craniosynostosis is often confused with plagiocephaly as they are both conditions that affect the growth and shape of a baby’s head. It is, however, important to understand how to differentiate craniosynostosis as it requires a specialist form of treatment.
Is Plagiocephaly Cosmetic Rather than Medical? (And If So, Why Bother With Treatment?)
The majority of children with plagiocephaly are unable to get helmet treatment on the NHS. Instead, parents are sent home and told to ‘wait and see’ whether their child’s condition will or will not improve on its own. Conversely, American babies are offered helmet therapy as a standard intervention for moderate to severe skull flattening. This begs the question: is plagiocephaly purely cosmetic as British medical institutions claim, or could it be associated with developmental issues? And even if it is ‘just’ cosmetic, could this cause problems in itself? This post investigates the research that has been carried out to date, and answers some of the questions you might have if your baby has a flat head.
The Link Between Flat Head Syndrome and Visual Defects
As flat head syndrome in babies has continued to rise, so too has speculation regarding a possible link between flat head syndrome and visual defects. Head shape deformities are thought to be linked to an increased likelihood of developing conditions like strabismus (eye misalignment) and anisometropia (significantly different prescriptions in the two eyes). But what is the nature of this relationship? Does flat head syndrome affect the eyes directly, or is the situation more complex?
Forums like BabyCenter reveal that many parents are concerned about a potential link between plagiocephaly and development delay. It seems that a number of children who have experienced plagiocephaly can also have other neurodevelopmental issues but with little research conducted in this area, a cause-and-effect relationship between plagiocephaly and neural development can be difficult for parents and healthcare professionals to establish.