How does helmet therapy work?
The LOCband is non-invasive and works by applying a gentle, constant pressure over the areas of the baby’s skull that are most prominent, while allowing unrestricted growth over the flattened areas. The band consists of a soft foam layer inside a thermoplastic shell. As the baby grows, the band will be adjusted frequently to gently guide the skull into a more symmetrical shape.
What proof is there that helmet therapy works?
All babies that have completed their course of treatment with us have achieved a measurable improvement in head shape. However, you don’t have to take our word for it.
A retrospective research report with a large sample of babies (4,000), who either underwent re-positioning or had helmet therapy, has recently been published. The results were conclusive:
repositioning achieved acceptable correction in 77.1% of cases, but 15.8% were moved onto helmet therapy because re-positioning was not working. Meanwhile, 94.4% of the infants who started in the helmet-treated group achieved full correction, as did 96.1% of those who were transferred from the repositioning group into the helmet-treated group.
How do I know your clinicians are any good?
LOC’s clinicians are all fully-qualified in the specialist medical discipline of orthotics and prosthetics; they are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. In addition, they have accumulated years of experience in both the NHS and private sectors. Moreover
LOC’s clinicians have been treating babies with positional plagiocephaly ever since 2005, when helmet therapy became available in the UK.
Why should I choose LOC in preference to another clinic?
The clinics and clinicians that provide this treatment in the UK will have received similar training and experience. However, we are the only clinic that manufactures its own helmet and our clinicians are closely involved with the process for each individual helmet that we produce.
In addition, we do not restrict review appointments to a set number, we are extremely flexible and respond to individual parents' needs, so that the best outcome can be achieved for each baby.
What happens at the first appointment/consultation?
An LOC clinician will first establish if your baby has a pre-existing medical condition, so it will be important to bring any medical notes or referral documents from other health professionals. Hand measurements will be taken of your baby’s head to establish the severity of the condition.
In less severe cases - depending on the age of the baby - it is likely that our clinician will recommend that parents try repositioning techniques, and will provide advice and literature on how to do this.
In severe cases, helmet therapy will be recommended, and, if the parents agree, a 3D scan of the baby’s head will be taken. This image provides the individual measurements for the manufacture of your baby’s LOCband.
Fitting generally takes place two weeks after the scan.
Can I contact the clinician involved with my baby’s treatment?
Yes, you can always contact your clinician if you are worried about something and don’t want to wait until your next review appointment. You can phone or e-mail the Kingston clinic and your clinician will get back to you as soon as possible.
What does the price of treatment cover?
The price of treatment covers:
- all your baby’s required appointments from start to end of treatment, no matter how many are required to achieve the improvement in head shape that you are happy with;
- the cost of manufacturing the LOCband and supply of appropriate cleaning fluid for the band;
- all reports to your GP/paediatrician/ cranial osteopath/physiotherapist, including a final scan report with objective measurements of change achieve;
- full telephone support from your clinician during treatment, and, if necessary, extra review appointments at short notice.
What is the best age to start treatment?
The optimum age for treatment is between four and seven months.
This is because the skull is most malleable at this age and improvements to head shape tend to take less time and are more dramatic. That is not to say that helmet therapy should be ruled out if the baby is older than seven months. Routinely, babies up to the age of 14 months can be treated very successfully.
The cut off age is around 18 months, when the fontenelles (soft spots on head) are no longer malleable. As babies grow and develop at different rates, it is always worth checking if you are not sure.
How long does treatment take?
On average treatment takes between three and six months to complete. The time is dependent on various factors, such as age starting treatment, the baby’s growth rate and the original severity of the condition. The older the baby, the longer treatment is likely to take.
How many hours a day does my baby have to wear the helmet?
Fulltime wear is defined as 22-23 hours a day, but at the beginning of treatment the advice is to gradually build up to this point, which tends to be by day five. By this stage, your baby will have forgotten about the band.
How frequently do we need to attend reviews?
This is very much dependent on how fast your baby is growing. The faster the growth, the more frequently your baby will be seen so that the helmet can be adjusted. In general, reviews will happen at two to four week intervals.
Can my baby go in water in the helmet?
No, the band should be removed for bathing or swimming.
If my baby is ill/has a temperature what should I do about the treatment?
If your baby has a temperature or a fever due to illness you must remove the band. The band can be put back on once the temperature has returned to normal.