06 October 2023
Just over two years since the LOCband Lite's launch, we’ve successfully treated our 500th helmet therapy patient with our innovative 3D-printed cranial band.
Meet Billy (and his mother, Laura) who recently completed his helmet therapy treatment for positional plagiocephaly. To celebrate the occasion, we gave Laura a bouquet of flowers and vouchers. It comes just over a year since we celebrated our 250th LOCBand Lite patient.
Billy and Laura were very happy to come back to see us again post treatment, as well as celebrating Billys 1st birthday! Billy left with some balloons marking the occasion as well as a birthday gift from us.
Laura and her partner noticed there was something wrong with Billy’s head shape when he was about 8 weeks old. He preferred sleeping on his left. For a time Billy was in the care of a paediatric osteopath and for a couple of days after each session there was an improvement in Billy’s head shape but he always reverted to sleeping the way he wanted to. There were no sessions over Christmas and the New Year and by now Billy’s head shape was a lot worse. Laura’s partner had heard of ‘helmets’ being used to correct head shape, so Laura began researching the subject and found LOC.
Cranial remoulding (or ‘helmet’) therapy, is considered the primary treatment for babies with moderate to severe positional plagiocephaly (also known as ‘flat head syndrome’). Each LOCband Lite is manufactured individually for each baby, according to their exact measurements and specifications. After several months of wear, it can help to normalise a baby’s head shape.
Laura recalls: “Billy’s head shape was measured, and he was found to have severe right sided plagiocephaly with right anterior ear shift and right frontal bossing. LOC just gave us the facts in an understandable way, there was no pressure to commit to treatment and for us it was a straightforward decision.” Billy’s cranial vault asymmetry was in fact 20mm; this measurement compares the right and left diagonals at 30 degrees from the centre of the head (front to back) and subtracting one from the other gives the asymmetry value. Less than 6mm is regarded as being within the normal range of head shape, anything over 12mm is deemed to be very severe.
As far as the treatment itself goes, Laura was surprised by how seamless it all was: “After the first 24 hours Billy barely noticed he was wearing a helmet and he really enjoyed coming to see George (senior orthotist), George was great with Billy and very reassuring to me.
Because measurements are taken at the scheduled review appointments, you quickly know whether the treatment is working, when you see that the asymmetry is reducing by a couple of millimetres, it really is such a relief. The visual difference at the end of treatment was really quite stark. We are so pleased with the end result.”
Billy's discharge reports showcase the kind of results that the LOCband Lite consistently delivers. In just six months, Billy's asymmetry reduced significantly, going from an initial measurement of 20 mm (which would be classed as very severe) to 7 mm.
You can see his head scans before and after his treatment below which showcase the visible difference helmet therapy can achieve. Billy had done very well all the way through treatment being very cheery every appointment, outside of clinic Billy was happily attending nursery and shrugging off the heat waves of summer while wearing the helmet for 23 hours a day.
Two years ago, our in-house design team embarked on a mission to reinvent the cranial helmet with help from 3D printing. Their primary objective was to create a cranial helmet that not only exerted the precise amount of force needed for head shape remodelling but also prioritised comfort, thanks to its lightweight and well-ventilated design.
Better ventilation means babies become less hot and bothered, leading to improved compliance during the nighttime. The more time a baby spends in their helmet, the shorter the length of treatment (which typically ranges from 3 to 6 months). Another feature of the LOCband Lite that parents appreciate is that it is far less bulky and has a lower profile than traditional helmets.
The LOCband Lite makes use of an updated bivalve design, with two parts joined by a hinge. This makes it much easier for parents to put the helmet on and take it off, especially for cleaning and helmet breaks.
The LOCband Lite also weighs approximately 40% less than the original LOCband design.
This reduction in weight is thanks to the sleeker design of the helmet, boasting thinner foam walls. This creates less burden on the infant's neck, which in turn contributes to the effective treatment of torticollis.
This translates into a notable reduction in plastic consumption compared to conventional polypropylene helmets. This equates to a remarkable saving of 1120 grams per band, or an astonishing 336 kilograms a year (equivalent to three male baby elephants).
Baby Bonnie recently completed treatment with the LOCBand Lite. Her asymmetry went from 12mm to 4mm in less than six months.
Mum Jody says: “Bonnie didn’t care about wearing a helmet, she wasn’t fazed at all, indeed she relished being able to fall about with impunity. It’s really a quick and easy treatment, and I would recommend it to anyone.
Amelia is another baby who completed helmet therapy treatment with the LOCBand Lite earlier this year. Amelia is one of the older babies we’ve treated with the LOCBand Lite, starting treatment at over a year old. Despite this, her asymmetry halved from a ‘severe’ reading of 18m to 9mm by the end of her treatment.
While the optimum age for starting cranial remoulding therapy is 4-5 months, successful treatment is perfectly possible up to about the age of 16 months.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.