Plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome is a medical condition that happens basically when there is a flat spot comes up on the back portion of the baby’s head.
This is a condition which can give a complete different asymmetrical shape to the head of the baby. According to facts, when given a look from above, it looks like a parallelogram. After birth for up to a couple of months, the bones in the skull don’t harden up completely. When the bones are soft, it provides an easy passage to the baby which gives the baby enough and ample amount of space to grow.
One of the primary plagiocephaly causes is when the baby sleeps keeping their head in just one direction. There is a lot more to that helps to fix baby’s flat head.
Types of Plagiocephaly
Plagiocephaly is of two types, one is positional and congenital. Positional plagiocephaly is also known as deformational plagiocephaly and is known for being the most common form of a flat head. Almost 50% of the babies fall under this category of plagiocephaly.
Congenital plagiocephaly which is otherwise known as craniosynostosis is a syndrome that happens in babies since birth and is a rare defect. There is a fibrous space in between the bones of the skull called sutures. As a result of this, the shape of the head comes out to be abnormal.
There are various reasons for both of this plagiocephaly to occur. Positional plagiocephaly is generally caused because of the sleeping habit of a baby. When a baby is found sleeping on their back, it causes positional plagiocephaly. This ends up creating a flat area.
Some of the other causes of positional plagiocephaly are:
Don’t put your baby to sleep in the same position every day. For example: don’t put them on their back or don’t put them in the way that they are not facing the head left or right. This continues to put pressure on just one segment of the skull.
The risk is high for the first 4 months. Do this till are they are fully able to roll themselves. This is one of the primary plagiocephaly causes.
Plagiocephaly can come up due to forceps or vacuum delivery when pressure is put over the skull as well as the malleable bones.
When there is stiffness or unbalancing happening in the neck muscles, this also leads to plagiocephaly. When the kid is in breech position, it is because of the uterus.
Babies who are premature have very soft bones compared to those with bones in the term. They spend most of their time in hospitals than regular babies. Positional plagiocephaly is very common in preemies.
On the other hand, congenital plagiocephaly is not very known and occurs outright without any sort of symptoms. Sometimes, it can cause genetic issues like Crouzon and Pfeiffer with a lot of other symptoms and can even result in causing issues in different body parts. These are plagiocephaly causes for congenital.
Sometimes, it takes more than months for flat head symptoms to show up. So, the best way to check the signs to look for plagiocephaly signs is when you are bathing your baby and their hair is wet. That is the time when the head shape is a lot visible.
Some of the other signs include:
- Skull having bony ridges
- Ears will not be even
- Soft spot missing
- Few portions of the area would be bald
Symptoms of plagiocephaly depend totally on the type the baby is suffering from. Some of the common symptoms of positional plagiocephaly include:
- When the head is entirely tilted on one side.
- Abnormalities in the face like lower jaw and cheekbones.
- The ear is pushed on the same side.
- One side of the back of the head is flattened.
Some of the symptoms of congenital plagiocephaly are:
- Feeding poorly
- Blood vessels summing up in the scalp
- Bony ridges
- The soft spot is missing in the skull of the newly born
If the baby is having a misshaped plagiocephaly, then the best thing to do is head out to your health care professional to check on it. It can either be a reason of sleep position or craniosynostosis. When there is a physical examination of the baby’s head, it becomes easy for the physician to check on the conditions simultaneously.
The tests that can be done to check about plagiocephaly are:
- X-rays that will check for any sort of missing sutures.
- Diagnostic imaging that is more of CT scans that will help to check for fused sutures.
- Genetic tests that will help in causing craniosynostosis.
Only a minor plagiocephaly treatment is needed if the baby is going through positional plagiocephaly. Those treatments include:
- Sleep repositioning so that it is easy for the baby to move their head often.
- Increased time for a tummy that will help to improve the strength of the neck and motion range.
- Plagiocephaly helmet therapy is often advised for reshaping the skull to get through severe cases.
For congenital plagiocephaly which is primarily caused because of craniosynostosis, the treatment is different. The whole thing focuses on correcting out the shape of the skull to put the pressure that is inside to come out. This also helps in gathering up more space and ensuring that there is a lot of room for the brain to breathe and grow. Some of the treatment options for congenital plagiocephaly includes:
- Plagiocephaly helmet therapy that will help with reshaping the skull
- Surgery before the age of 1 that will help the baby to grow its skull
It is not really possible to avoid plagiocephaly. However, there are a few things that you can do to lower down the risk and fix baby’s flat head.
- Put your baby into supervision and a proper tummy time. Give your baby a three to five minutes/session. Carry this for two to three times a day. Work up for at least 40 to 60 mins in a today to tummy time in a day.
- Changing the positions of feeding of the baby. For example, if you are feeding your baby with a bottle while they are resting in your arm, make sure to switch them to the left.
That was everything you needed to know about plagiocephaly and its causes. Alongside, to fix baby’s flat head, all you need is a plagiocephaly treatment.
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