25 January 2022
As time goes by, we are having more and more little patients graduating from their LOCband Lite helmets. One of these is little Iyla, now aged 11 months. Iyla’s mum (Molly) was made aware of problems with her baby’s head soon after birth. She was initially referred by her GP to a Paediatric Physiotherapist, who gave Iyla some gentle stretches for her neck as she was diagnosed with Torticollis. This condition results in a baby preferring to rest their head in one position and is one of the primary causes of flat-head syndrome or positional plagiocephaly.
The physiotherapist also recommended lots of tummy time, repositioning and the use of an overnight pillow to help correct Iyla’s head shape naturally. After a couple of months of this regime, Molly realised that Iyla’s head shape was still not right. The physio suggested Molly try helmet treatment with LOC. Molly initially booked a virtual consultation when Iyla was nearly 5 months. This was followed by a full consultation shortly after, in our Bristol Clinic which is run by Saeed Hamid, director and head of Plagiocephaly care.
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.
Iyla presented with a severe right sided positional plagiocephaly with 14 mm asymmetry. Molly and her partner were both reassured and encouraged by the consultation and decided to proceed with the treatment straight away.
Molly recalls “Iyla had a bad skin reaction on the top of her head after 3-4 weeks of wearing the helmet, so we were advised that she could stop wearing it overnight. The helmet treatment was working really well however. From the first few weeks of wearing, she had a growth spurt which highlighted straight away some great improvements in her head shape. The difference with before she started treatment was extraordinary”
After only 5 months of wearing her LOCband Lite, Iyla had ‘graduated’, her asymmetry had reduced from 14mm to 6 mm asymmetry. Iyla’s parents were really pleased with the results. Molly said: “My advice is to do it, 100%! We were unsure because of the price initially. However, the free consultation was super helpful. We were completely satisfied after seeing the big improvements on her head shape. We would encourage parents to always seek for a second opinion rather than just the one from your doctor, so you can decide what’s best for your baby. If in doubt, do it as soon as possible, without waiting for physio to work as in our case it didn’t, and we felt as if we had lost some precious time. Iyla was in the higher category as to how bad her plagiocephaly was, and the NHS wouldn’t treat her, so definitely start as soon as possible.”
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.