Since the American Academy of Pediatrics implemented the “Back is Best” program, the incidence of deformational plagiocephaly has risen dramatically. Plagiocephaly is caused by in-utero positioning, torticollis (tightness of the neck muscle), multiple births, breech positioning, lying and sleeping on their back without the infant changing head position and lack of tummy time.
In some cases, deformation on one side of the back of the head is evident immediately after birth. Multiple births and torticollis greatly increase the incidence of plagiocephaly. Deformation of the head also occurs because infants are kept in car or bouncy seats for long periods of time for convenience or to decrease reflux. Our Tri-State and Philadelphia orthopedists can fit custom baby helmets as a safe solution for correcting this deformity.
Without repositioning your infant’s head to the opposite side of flattening, the affected side worsens quickly due to the malleability of the infant skull during the first few months of life. This is exacerbated because the majority of the time, they are on their backs and therefore do not tolerate tummy time, quickly becoming fussy after a short period being on their tummies.
Facial asymmetry can occur with deformational plagiocephaly. One eye may appear smaller and lower than the other, one cheek may appear fuller that the other, the ears will be misaligned and the face may present with a C-shape to it.
Plagiocephaly includes brachycephaly, scaphocephaly and trigonocephaly. One of the most common forms of correction is cranial orthosis, which involves the use of a baby helmet to help our patients in Philadelphia and the Tri-State area retain a symmetrical head.