To understand why a plagiocephaly occurs in an infant, it is important to know the following: A newborn’s head is made up of seven (7) different bones that are joined together. The area where they join is called a suture. The sutures are important because they give two important prospects to the head:
i. The head becomessoft and malleable. Thus,it can pass through the vagina during delivery.
ii. The sutures provide space for the baby’s brain to develop.
What is a plagiocephaly?
Plagiocephaly refers to the flat head. The baby’s/infant’s head has an asymmetry. This can happen because the baby’s head is soft and malleable. There is a flattened area in the lateral back of the head. Parents will easily realize that a baby has a strangely shaped head. Usually, the back side of the head is flattened. The ear on this side is pushed forward.
The diagnosis is made by the doctor who will examine the child once they get a detailed history concerning the pregnancy, childbirth and the first months of life. Sometimes they may request additional tests, such as x-rays, CT scans or MRI scans.
What are the causes and symptoms of plagiocephaly?
How is plagiocephaly treated or prevented?
The treatment of plagiocephaly is directly related to the cause. If plagiocephaly is caused by torticollis, then physiotherapy will improve it and soon it will solve the issue of plagiocephaly.
If plagiocephaly is the result of craniosynostosis then craniosynostosis must be treated first surgically. In most cases, however, plagiocephaly is due to the position of the head. That is why it is called positional flat head (plagiocephaly).
Tips for parents
The vast majority of infants with positional flat head do well with simple methods. Here are some tips for parents:
Beware of the various pillows that are sold for the treatment of plagiocephaly. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend any pillow that restricts head movements. You can buy/use them only if they have been prescribed by a specialist.
The prognosis of children with flat head is excellent. Usually, the problem is solved without any treatment by their first birthday.