You may have been a little startled to notice your baby’s head developing an unusual shape. The condition is not uncommon; it’s called plagiocephaly (pla’je-o-sef’ah-le), and often results from external forces applied to the soft infant skull.

It might sound complicated, but plagiocephaly literally means “oblique head” (from Greek: plagio = oblique, and cephale = head). It’s called a parallelogram deformity because if you look down on the infant’s head (bird’s-eye-view), this is the shape you will see. From this angle it looks as if half of the head has been pushed forward, often accompanied by misalignment of the ears, facial asymmetry and bulging forehead.

How does helmeting correct deformational plagiocephaly?

Helmets are usually made of an outer hard shell with a foam lining. Gentle, persistent pressures are applied to capture the natural growth of an infant’s head, while inhibiting growth in the prominent areas and allowing for growth in the flat regions. As the head grows, adjustments are made frequently. The helmet essentially provides a tight, round space for the head to grow into.

How long will my child wear a helmet?

The average treatment with a helmet is usually three to six months, depending on the age of the infant and the severity of the condition. Careful and frequent monitoring is required. Helmets must be prescribed by a licensed physician with craniofacial experience.

How can OLAB Help?

Orthotic treatment options for Plagiocephaly/ Brachycephaly include casting or scanning of the head to allow a corrective helmet to be made. This will require periodic adjustment as the cranial shape develops and is corrected.

Contact us for more information on what is available or to arrange an appointment.