If your baby had been diagnosed with plagiocephaly you might find that there are current treatment options with more variance than you originally thought. These are some of the most current treatment options for babies with varying severity levels of flat head syndrome.
Sleeping and Resting Position Changes
One of the first treatments for milder cases of plagiocephaly and younger infants is to implement regular positional changes. Some insurance companies require positional therapy (specifically in younger infants) before they will pay for further treatment. Repositioning includes things like engaging in plenty of supervised tummy time during the day. During wakeful periods you can change the side on which baby is laying and move them into different positions throughout the day. You may be encouraged to implement babywearing during the day to minimize the amount of hours spent lying on the back. During the sleeping hours you would alternating the head position while sleeping on the back.
Another treatment option for milder forms of plagiocephaly, especially those babies diagnosed with muscular torticollis, would be to initiate several pediatric neck exercises. If this type of treatment is warranted your doctor would refer you to a pediatric physical therapist who can help create a treatment plan. Many families use the service of Early Intervention programs throughout the country to find appropriate therapists.
Another current treatment option is the Plagio Cradle. Babies younger than three months old may be prescribed a molding cup, or Plagio Cradle. The Plagio Cradle is designed to address both existing flattening, while also preventing future flattening in babies who are at particular risk for plagiocephaly. The cradle is placed under the infant’s head and neck when they are placed on their back. The neck is supported and the cradle creates a hollowed area that allows for natural reshaping of the head. The gradual process is effective and several cradles may be needed as the skull grows.
Cranial Remolding Helmets
Older infants or those children with more moderate to severe forms of flattening will often need a corrective helmet to begin the process of cranial orthosis or skull remolding. The lightweight plastic shell and foam liner are breathable and safe for baby to wear for 16-23 hours each day. The helmet serves similarly to a brace or cast to slowly reshape the skull as it grows.
Cranial Remolding Bands
Similar to the remolding helmet, a remolding band is a form of cranial orthosis. Instead of full coverage, the band is more open on the top and slightly lighter weight than a helmet. Examples of these would be the Boston Band, Doc Band and Starband.
Current Treatment Options for Flat Head Syndrome
These are some of the most recent trends in plagiocephaly treatment. While in years past helmet therapy was initiated as a first option, many doctors are now using repositioning and exercises to try to treat the malformation, often in younger babies and less severe cases. For babies who do need cranial remolding, there are many different brands and options for helmets and bands.