Baby M's Plagiocephaly Transformation
Our daughter, M, was born with a noticeable flat head. I initially raised my concerns with our GP and our health visitor but was told several times not to worry and that it would improve over time; all I had to do was to reposition her head. Several weeks later and many frustrating and unsuccessful attempts at making M turn her head to the left we decided to get a second opinion. After an extensive Google search I took M to see a physiotherapist who diagnosed a mild case of torticollis. I also took her to meet Saeed Hamid at the London Orthotics clinic in Harley Street to get a professional opinion on M’s head shape. M was 11 weeks at the time and while all my research indicated that she was far too young for a helmet, it was also very clear from many clinical studies that to be most efficient, and for the treatment length to be as short as possible it was paramount to start as early as possible, if at all possible before 20 weeks.
Saeed was extremely patient and courteous. He took M’s measurement which revealed a severe case of plagiocephaly at 14 mm. Far from ‘selling’ the helmet he advised to follow through with the physiotherapy routine and to continue repositioning her. We booked an appointment to review her progress at 16 weeks.
We met again when M was 16 weeks and further measurements confirmed my husband and I suspicion’s that her plagiocephaly had gotten worse. M was measuring at 17mm. By that time our decision was made. M was scanned that very same day and we booked a follow up appointment 2 weeks later for the fitting of the helmet.
At this point I want to say that it was not an easy decision to reach. While we were convinced that we were acting in M’s best interests we were obviously worried about making the wrong decision and subjecting her to an invasive and uncomfortable treatment. Hence the extensive online search we undertook. There are many studies available in medical journals and although most require paying a fee we read through most of them. This allowed us to accumulate sufficient knowledge to feel comfortable with this path. One other key factor was that the helmet is an orthosis, which means that if at any point we saw M being uncomfortable – or God forbid in pain – we were able to remove the helmet immediately and bring her relief.
M was 4 months when we went to her fitting appointment. The helmet only needed a small adjustment and we were given instructions to gradually increase the wearing time to full time wear (23 hours per day) as well as cleaning instructions. We also booked the following 5 appointments with Sally Hews who would be monitoring M’s progress and making the necessary adjustments to her helmet. The first few days were not the easiest ones for me. M was not bothered by the helmet and took to wearing it very easily. I, on the other hand, had to get used to not seeing my baby’s head which proved more difficult than anticipated. A week later we returned for our first adjustments and after that we saw Sally every 2 weeks for further measurements and adjustments. Sally expected the treatment to last for up to 4 months and we were aiming to reduce her asymmetry to about 5mm, just within the normal-mild range.
The timing of the fitting was perfect as shortly afterward M went through a growth spurt so the helmet could gently re-direct the growth. In the end M’s treatment lasted exactly 3 months and her asymmetry was reduced to 1.8mm, well within the normal range. M also had some facial asymmetry with her ears significantly misaligned and a visible bulge on her forehead. Both were greatly reduced and since taking off the helmet they have continued to improve to the point that no-one (but me) notices it.
Wearing the helmet did not affect her sleeping at all. During treatment, we travelled to a hot weather destination and while we had to be careful not to let M overheat, she took it all in stride. I genuinely do not think that she noticed that she was wearing it.
Looking back, I am incredibly happy that we took action as early as we did and that we met with Saeed and Sally. During the whole process they were always available to answer all the questions (I had quite a few) and provide re-assurance and guidance. While we were on holiday I was even able to text them for advice. The care and attention they provided to M were second to none and were a key factor in making this experience an excellent one for M but also for us.
My husband and I would like to thank you for your help and your care. Our daughter’s head is now nicely rounded and we could not have hoped for a better outcome. We will continue to raise awareness about this condition and heartedly recommend Saeed Hamid and his team at the LOC.
Sam & Tim
Click to enlarge PDF of Baby M's before and after head scans
If you are concerned about your baby’s head and would like a fast, free opinion from one of LOC’s experienced clinicians, you can use the LOC flat head diagnosis form to upload photos of your baby’s head and contact details. An LOC clinician will respond within 24 hours.