Plagiocephaly (Flat Head Syndrome) describes a cranial asymmetry, where there is a "flattening" of one side of the baby's head, giving the appearance of an oblique skull.
Plagiocephaly can have different causes, for example, the newborn can immediately present this asymmetry due to its intrauterine addiction position or develop it in the first months of life, by lying in the same position for long periods without assistance. To this deformity, we call Positional Plagiocephaly.
It turns out that there is usually a tendency to support one side more than the other of the head which eventually causes an asymmetry in the bones of the skull that are still developing. That is, Plagiocephaly is triggered by external mechanical forces, which alter the shape of the head, and this is only possible due to cranial plasticity. In some instances, this deformity spontaneously regresses over time; however, other times with bone growth of the skull, the deformity increases and may have severe consequences in the development of the baby.
Other causes of Flat Head Syndrome can begin with a difficult delivery, where the baby's head undergoes great traction or external compressions, such as the use of forceps, or even too prolonged passage through the birth canal, shaping the cranial bones asymmetrically.
Another of the causes is the congenital torticollis, where the asymmetrical tension that the sternum-cleidomastoid imposes, contributes to an occipitotemporal deformity; The premature closure of one of the cranial sutures, namely craniosynostosis, may still be one of the most severe causes of Plagiocephaly.
However, the causes are numerous and can occur pre or postnatal. Small maternal pelvis, fetuses with too large heads, multiple pregnancies, transverse presentation of the fetus, changes in the amount of amniotic fluid, are just some of the possibilities that may be causes of Plagiocephaly.
There is scientific evidence that Flat Head Syndrome produces craniofacial changes and other sequelae that may be irreversible and not merely a merely aesthetic problem. For example, changes in vision, general headache, dental malocclusion, strabismus, temporomandibular joint pain, changes or delays in the child's psychomotor development, presence of scoliosis or postural changes, among others.
The diagnosis of Plagiocephaly is relatively easy. It is mostly objective, observing the top of the newborn's head and is easily detected by the parents. Face observation may also show changes in the symmetry of the face. The evaluation of cervical mobility is vital to verify the presence of torticollis that may be the cause or consequence of Plagiocephaly. And still, depending on gravity, measurements of the skull can be made that indicate the degree of Plagiocephaly.
Treatment of these cases should begin with prevention. It is essential to clarify the parents and communicate the recommendations that should be made mainly during the first two months of life, as the repositioning advice of the baby, may reduce or prevent possible cranial deformations. From 4-5 months of life, the infant already can regulate his position, so do not need so much care at this time.
Plagiocephaly Helmet Therapy
It is essential to consider that there is a reasonably rapid cranial growth in the first two years of life and that more than 50% of cases of Plagiocephaly are reduced only with cautious measures of positioning, although there are some cases that worsen with time.
In more severe cases, the use of cranial orthoses (helmet) is controversial. There are passive/active or dynamic orthoses. They do not restrict healthy growth and require daily use for prolonged periods (about 23 hours a day), with an average duration of 13 weeks, and have a more significant benefit when used between 4-9 months and are not practical after 12 months. However, the psychological impact is a definite disadvantage to its use, as well as the development of pressure ulcers, among other problems.
On the other hand, the treatment of Plagiocephaly with the use of manual therapy, cranial mobility is studied and returned when absent. Through the hands, touch, and sensitivity of the therapist, blockages or alterations in the physiological movement between the cranial sutures are observed during manual evaluation and can be returned.
For the healthy psycho-motor development of the child, the physiological mobility of the cranial bones is fundamental, avoiding severe consequences in the future at various levels, both structural and functional.
Manual techniques are gentle, pleasant, relaxing, and seek the balance and relaxation of all structures that are in tension and with blockages of movement. With the use of these techniques, skull symmetry is not only restored, thanks to the plasticity and growth of the bones of the skull, as the physiological movement is restored.
This guarantees a healthy pisco-motor development of the child, an obvious benefit of manual therapy concerning the use of the helmet, which can only return some symmetry to the head.
Flat Head Syndrome Pillow (Portable Baby Bed)
- Anti-rollover shaping pillow.
- Prevents baby from spitting up milk.
- Mimics the shape of the uterus in a pregnant woman.
- Prevents plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome).
- It is recommended by healthcare professionals.
- Article Post: Flat Head Syndrome (Positional Plagiocephaly)
- Youtube Video: Plagiocephaly (Flat Head Syndrome)