Positional plagiocephaly (also known as flat head syndrome) is when a baby develops a flat spot on one side or the back of the head. This can cause the baby's head to look asymmetrical and for the ears to become misaligned. It can happen when a baby sleeps in the same position most of the time, or because of problems with the neck muscles that result in a head-turning preference.
If you think your baby has flat head syndrome or you are worried about the shape of your baby’s head and would like an immediate opinion from one of our experienced clinicians, use our free photo diagnosis form.
Take photographs of your baby's head and attach them to the form below. We recommend taking several photos from different angles:
Please do not attempt to upload large files directly from your camera/phone as these might be too big. You may need to reduce them first. Each file should be no more than 2 MB.
Our assessment of your baby's head shape, based on your photographs, should establish whether your baby has positional plagiocephaly. It may not, however, be possible to establish how severe the condition is.
If we confirm that your baby does have plagiocephaly, contact us to make an appointment.
We offer a free initial consultation for babies aged 3 months and upwards, at which your baby's head shape can be assessed from a three-dimensional perspective, and measurements are taken to confirm the scale of head shape asymmetry.
Positional plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, occurs when a baby develops a flat spot on one side or the back of the head. It can lead to asymmetry in the baby's head shape and misalignment of the ears. Plagiocephaly can be attributed to consistent sleeping in one position or issues with neck muscles that result in a head-turning preference.
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.
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.
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