What is plagiocephaly?
Plagiocephaly is a condition where an infant's head is asymmetrical, having an uneven or irregular shape. Clinically, it is referred to as deformational or positional plagiocephaly. This flattening can occur both prior to birth, during birth and after birth; clinically referred to as prenatal, perinatal and postnatal, respectively. For more information, please visit our Plagiocephaly page.
Is plagiocephaly occurring more frequently?
In fact, the answer is yes. In reviewing the number of cases of plagiocephaly reported between 1999 and 2007 from the Texas Birth Defects Registry, a 9-fold increase was found. Plagiocephaly cases increased from 3.0 cases per 10,000 live births to 28.8, an average increase of 21.2% per year. This is hypothesized to be a result of the Back to Sleep campaign with infants now being put to sleep on their backs and also an increase in preterm births.
What is the difference between plagiocephaly, brachycephaly and scaphocephaly?
Plagiocephaly, as defined above is a condition where an infant's head is asymmetrical, having an uneven or irregular shape. Brachycephaly and scaphocephaly are specific types of plagiocephaly where there is asymmetrical flattening on the back and sides of the head, respectively. For brachycephaly, this presents as a wider head shape and for scaphocephaly, as a thinner head shape.
What is torticollis?
Torticollis refers to a twisted or wry neck. Torticollis is caused by the shortening of muscles in the neck, particularly the Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle. It can be congenital (occurring during or shortly after birth) or environmental. When resulting from the placement in utero or the birth process, it is referred to as Congenital Muscular Torticollis (CMS). Environmental causes are a result of remaining in the same position in car seats, swings, etc. and not having the opportunity to turn their neck to both sides. Often, since an infant will favor using their non-affected side of this will lead to plagiocephaly since pressure is always on the same side of the head. For more information, please visit our Torticollis page.
What is cranial synostosis and how does it relate to plagiocephaly?
Cranial synostosis is a condition in which an infant's cranial sutures prematurely close. Sutures are the borders of the bony plates which form an infant's skull. Normally, the sutures in an infant's head will close around 2 - 3 years of age. If they close prematurely, the result is cranial synostosis. Cranial synostosis is not treatable with the kinderBAND™. Some of the symptoms may include:
  • No "soft spot" (fontanelle) on the newborn's skull
  • A raised hard ridge along the affected sutures
  • Unusual head shape
  • Slow or no increase in the head size over time as the baby grows