Flat Head Syndrome

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Flat Head Syndrome

By: Dr. Abe Kopolovich, DPT, MBA

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FIRST SIGNS

 

Parents often notice mild deformities in their babies’ skulls and naturally begin to worry. Is this normal? Is this a problem? What do we do about it? Will this go away on its own? It is perfectly normal for your newborn baby to have an abnormal head shape. Abnormal head shapes caused by the birth process should begin to resolve over time, within a few weeks.

However, if any flat spots or abnormal shaping are still apparent, some intervention may be required to correct the problem. To be absolutely sure of the normalcy of your baby’s head shape, please consult your physician.

 

A SIMPLE TEST

 

HEAD SHAPES

Look down upon your baby’s head from above and compare what you see to the diagrams below.

PLAGIOCEPHALY

Presents as an asymmetrical (uneven) head shape. The back of one side of the head will be flattened, often pushing the forehead and ear on the same side forward.

BRACHYCEPHALY

Presents as an abnormally wide head shape resulting from a central flattening of the back of the head. You may notice a bulging forehead and increased height of the back of the head in the side view. This shape can also be asymmetrical.

SCAPHOCEPHALY

Presents as a long, narrow head shape from the top view. You may notice the forehead and back of the head bulging (bossing) in the side view.

Your baby’s head shape will likely approximate one of the shapes in our diagram. If your child presents with an abnormal head shape, discuss your concerns with your Doctor.

Please be assured that a visit to have your baby evaluated will not result an automatic decision to have your baby fitted for a head shape correctional device. Unlike some providers, Orthotists for STARband® often determine that no intervention is necessary and that simple re-positioning and “tummy time” will be all that is required. (Flat spots — Plagiocephaly — are often the result of babies spending excessive time on their backs, either in their crib or car carrier.)

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How do we fix it?

Parents often notice mild deformities in their babies’ skulls and naturally begin to worry. Is this normal? Is this a problem? What do we do about it? Will this go away on its own? It is perfectly normal for your newborn baby to have an abnormal head shape. Abnormal head shapes caused by the birth process should begin to resolve over time, within a few weeks.

However, if any flat spots or abnormal shaping are still apparent, some intervention may be required to correct the problem. To be absolutely sure of the normalcy of your baby’s head shape, please consult your physician.

 

TREATMENT OPTIONS

 

Let Nature Take Her Course – Many cases of abnormal head shape resolve on their own without need of any intervention other than trying to keep your baby from spending too much time in one position. Excessive time spent in a car carrier or being left on their backs in a crib can lead to head shape abnormalities. The best way to compensate for the hours your baby spends on his or her back is to spend some quality “tummy time”.

Tummy Time – Provides parents with ideas and activities to make sure your baby gets enough time on his/her tummy throughout the day, while he/she is awake and supervised. These activities include handling, carrying, diapering, positioning, feeding and playing with your baby. Please visit the Library for more detailed information.

STARband – A baby fortunate enough to be fitted with a STARband in the optimum age range will wear the helmet 23 hours a day and will gently guide the baby’s head into a more normal shape. Please consult with your Physician and/or Orthotist for more detailed information.

 

THREE MONTHS TO LIFTOFF

 

See the STARband experience through the eyes of a young family.

Is STARband the answer?

WHAT IT IS

The STARband, Cranial Remolding Orthosis, is part of Orthomerica’s STAR Family of Cranial Remolding Orthoses that provides effective management and treatment of a wide variety of head shape abnormalities. Since 2001, infants have been successfully treated with the STARband throughout the United States and around the globe. The STAR Family of Cranial Remolding Orthoses has been used to treat Deformational Plagiocephaly, Brachycephaly and Scaphocephaly in infants 3-18 months. More recently, Orthomerica has received FDA clearance for the STAR Family of Cranial Remolding Orthoses for post-operative Craniosynostosis.

WHY IT WORKS

Cranial remolding treatment is only effective if you have adequate control over the areas of bossing (bulging) and allow adequate room for growth in the flattened areas. That being said, it is paramount that the holding areas of the helmet match the exact anatomy of your child to prevent skin complications. Treatment with a STARband begins with an initial laser scan of your baby’s head with a STARscanner. The scan takes less than 2 seconds and enables us to create a custom cranial remolding helmet that is accurate to 0.5mm, ensuring that your child gets the best possible clinical outcome.

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