Toddler’s brachycephaly is greatly improved with LOCband treament
When Claudia and Peter noticed their baby boy had an unusually flat head shape, they were naturally concerned. Worried about what the issue could mean in the future if left untreated, they decided that they needed to act while time was on their side.
“Looking back at photos of our boy, even when he was one month old, you can clearly see that his head was razor flat on one side,” mum Claudia recalls. “But we really started to become concerned at about three months. He was also experiencing severe gastric reflux, so our GP referred him to a cranial osteopath for that issue, and she agreed that his head shape was unusual.”
Above: the baby's head shape before brachycephaly LOCband treatment
The couple decided to research treatment options for brachycephaly after discovering that such interventions were not available on the NHS. “We raised our concerns during post-natal checks and with our GP, but they took the view that it was likely to correct itself over time,” dad Peter says. “They encouraged us to increase ‘tummy time’ for our son (which we did) and to wait and see. We found LOC online, and we arranged to visit Saeed (Saeed Hamid, Orthotist at LOC), to see what might be possible. He took our son’s cranial measurements compared them against his cephalic index chart, which goes up to 108 with anything above 95 classed as a severe brachycephaly. The cephalic ratio score was quite literally off the chart! Our boy measured at 109, with an asymmetry of 10mm. That visual illustration reassured us that our concerns were genuine.”
Peter and Claudia found themselves in a difficult position – one that will be familiar to many parents of babies with brachycephaly or plagiocephaly. “On the one hand, the NHS said that the condition would probably correct itself – but only time would tell,” says Claudia, “On the other hand, Saeed explained that we only had a short window of time for a LOCBand to be effective before the plates of our son’s skull hardened and the overall shape could not be altered. I remember our conversation after that first appointment. We needed to look ahead and think about the possible impact on our little boy as he grows up if we didn’t correct the brachycephaly. People tend to think of flat head as a cosmetic issue and, of course, we want our son to grow up feeling confident and not self-conscious, but, when you think about it, there are practical implications as well. For example, something as simple as buying him a well-fitting cycle helmet could potentially be difficult given the severity of his head shape. All things considered, we decided that we needed to take positive action and go ahead with the LOCBand treatment plan.”
Above: Recent images of the toddler's head shape after LOCband treatment
Peter and Claudia recall the support that the LOC team offered them along what they knew might not be an easy path. “Saeed was very open about the fact that getting used to the helmet could be challenging for our little boy, especially during the first few weeks,” says Claudia. “He made sure we understood that there might be rubbing and red spots, or he might be uncomfortable at night or in hot weather. That was very helpful, because we knew what to expect and so we were prepared to deal with it. Plus, of course, our son was growing all the time. Saeed was very accommodating when adjustments to the helmet were needed. At one point over Christmas, we were in Lincolnshire and we noticed that the LOCBand needed adjusting. Obviously, travelling from Lincolnshire to Kingston over Christmas would not be ideal! But Saeed was working in LOCs Cambridge Clinic, and so he was able to see us there and make the adjustments on the same day. He, and all of the LOC team, were always flexible and helpful when we needed support or urgent attention. In fact, some of the orthotists have had their babies in the same LOCband treatment. They really understand what this experience is like from a parent’s perspective.”
In total, their son wore the helmet for 9.5 months and upon their exit appointment (15 months on due to Covid), this lovely little boy has completed his LOCband treatment. Peter and Claudia are thrilled 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,” Peter explains. “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 could have continued the treatment with a larger helmet. But, at that point, our son was at nursery, and we were so happy with the results that we felt it was a natural break point for him and we were advised that the treatment is less effective the older a child is and given he was c.19 months by the time he outgrew the helmet, we did not feel that an additional helmet would be of significant benefit.”
Scans showing before and after measurements and a dramatic improvement in head shape for this young child, following LOCband treatment
Moving forward, the toddler’s parents are keen to ensure that other parents understand the options available if they are concerned about their baby’s head shape. “I would say to any parent who is worried that the most important thing to do is to get it checked out so that you can make an informed decision,” says Claudia. “And many parents are indeed worried. I got lots of enquiries on social media as I shared our journey. Yes, there is a cost, but for parents who are struggling financially there is support out there – for example, from the charity Headstart4Babies. 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!”
Are you worried that your baby may have a flat head?
You can get an initial opinion from our orthotists using our online flat head diagnosis form. It’s confidential and free, and we will respond to you within 24 hours. If we think your baby is showing signs of brachycephaly or plagiocephaly, we offer a free initial consultation for babies aged three months and upwards, where we can assess your baby’s head shape in more detail and advise you of your options as a parent.