09 June 2016
One of our specialisms at London Orthotics Consultancy is the treatment of plagiocephaly – or flat head syndrome – a condition characterised by flattening, or sometimes bulging, of a baby’s head. At the current time, the NHS does not recognise plagiocephaly as a condition that requires any specific medical treatment. But there is a growing body of research from other countries suggesting that flat head syndrome is on the increase. And, anecdotally, we receive a considerable number or enquiries from adults asking us to help them with plagiocephaly related issues.
One of the most important messages for us to spread about flat head syndrome is the importance of early treatment to improve the likelihood of a positive outlook. As babies grow, the plates of the skull become less malleable, meaning that a plagiocephaly treatment such as our LOCBand helmet will only be effective if it is pursued well before the age of two years, when the skull will harden completely.
It’s also important for parents to understand the role that techniques such as repositioning and tummy time can play in avoiding flat head syndrome – and for us, it’s important to spread that message as widely as we possibly can.
So we’re delighted to have teamed up with the online parenting community Small Steps Online, who recently asked our plagiocephaly specialist Saeed Hamid to advise their followers on the causes, trends, preventative techniques and likely treatment of plagiocephaly.
If you are involved with a parenting forum, group or publication and you’d like us to provide an informative article to raise awareness around the facts about plagiocephaly, please by all means contact LOC and we’ll be happy to help.
Are you worried about your baby’s head shape? You can seek an immediate clinical opinion from one of our orthotists using our free online flat head diagnosis form. Simply use the form to upload your photos, and an orthotist will get back to you within 24 hours to confirm whether flat head is a possibility, and what options you might consider next.
Our thanks to Small Steps for helping us to advise their followers about an issue that is a concern for many parents. If you’re interested in joining the Small Steps community, visit www.smallstepsonline.co.uk.
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.
The price of treatment covers:
Yes - 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.
Recent independent research conducted by a University Hospital in Germany has endorsed the treatment for babies with moderate or severe plagiocephaly.
A larger, retrospective study has just been published that found complete correction was achieved in 94.4% of babies treated with helmet therapy.
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.
Further information can be found on our Plagiocephaly Research page.
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.
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 16 months can be treated very successfully.
The cut off age is around 18 months when the fontanelles (soft spots on the head) are no longer malleable. As babies grow and develop at different rates, it is always worth checking if you are not sure. There have been cases where a baby’s fontanelles have not fused yet by the age of 18 months, who have achieved successful, but less-marked results with cranial remoulding therapy.
Torticollis is a condition in which a tight or shortened muscle in one side of the neck causes the head to tilt or turn to one side, resulting in the infant resting its head in the same position. In 2013, we analysed the data from all first appointments in our Kingston clinic and found that 20% of the babies examined had some kind of neck condition that was causing head immobility.
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.
The LOCband is non-invasive and works by applying 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.
Right from the beginning, we got the answers that we were looking for and left the clinic knowing what we were going to do. Everything just felt really simple every time we went for an appointment. I would definitely recommend LOC to other parents, and if anyone is in doubt about whether they should go for treatment, I’d say take advantage of the free consultation, because it was so worth it to go and get confirmation. I’m so happy I did it.
When we visited LOC there was no sales pitch or pressure – just honest, helpful advice and support. We’re very happy with the service we received from LOC and, most of all, we are delighted with the results!
At the start of the treatment, Saeed told us that we could expect the cephalic ratio to reduce by nine or ten points at most. In fact, it has reduced by 109 to 94. That’s a reduction of 15 points which is more than any of us hoped for. And his asymmetry has reduced from 10mm to just 1mm. We were so happy with the results that we felt it was a natural breakpoint for him and we were advised that the treatment is less effective the older a child is.
To say we are delighted with the service and results of the treatment would be an understatement! We felt cared for every step of the way, with regular check-ups meaning we were always aware of our twins’ development. Thank you so much to Sally at LOC, you are a star and have made a real difference to the future well-being of our boys!
We would be very happy for Francis to be included on the case histories page of your website. We are so pleased with the outcome of his treatment - I can only hope the images will give other parents confidence in the treatment where needed.
Thank you again for taking care of Amrit's flat head. We are very pleased with the results. Attached are some pics of our visits to the clinic which we thought you may want to keep and use to show others the painless process for the baby.
Ewan was four months old and I could breastfeed while he was wearing the helmet. At the clinic, they took their time with him. It made a huge difference knowing that we could trust them.
Ewen is now a confident and happy child, and the helmet therapy was definitely the right decision for us. I would (and have) recommended LOC to anyone, the clinic was friendly and reassuring.
From the very start, everyone at LOC was professional and friendly. Every step of the way was well-explained and measuring and fitting was quick. It only took Magnus one day to get used to the band and after that, he wasn’t bothered by it at all. And, most importantly, it worked! His head now looks completely normal. I would 100% get a LOCband again if we were to face the same situation again.