Plagiocephaly

Plagiocephaly is a term used to describe various types of infant head shape asymmetry. These asymmetries are caused by prolonged external pressure to the infant head, more commonly when the infant is sleeping on their back.

46% of infants suffer from head shape asymmetry and the need for effective treatment is a growing concern.*

Plagiocephaly occurs when there are one or more areas of flatness on the back of a baby’s head. This is typically accompanied by a combination of asymmetry, ear shifting and forehead sloping. Each and every SnugKap is customized to suit the needs of each of these unique and individual cases. Cutting edge technology is used to 3D scan and track the patients head shape and 3D additive and manufacturing techniques to create the custom fit SnugKap.

Plagiocephaly

plagiocephaly image• Forehead bulging opposite to the flattening on back of head.

• Ear shifting on the same side as the back of flattening.

• Head resembles a parallelogram.

• May be accompanied by torticollis.

 

Brachycephaly

brachycephaly image• Header is abnormally wide and tall.

• Tips of ears protrude.

• Face appears small compared to size of head.

• Back of head is flat instead of rounded.

 

Scaphocephaly

• Head is longer and narrower than normal.scaphocephaly image

• Forehead and back of head are often square.

• Common in premature babies who have spent time in intensive care unit

Main Causes

Sleeping Position
The push to put babies to sleep on their back to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) has been associated with a decrease in the incidence of SIDS but has led to an increase in the number of babies living with head shape abnormalities. Long hours in the supine position causes prolonged external pressure to an infants head.

Torticollis
Congenital muscular torticollis: This is a deformity resulting from shortening/fibrosis of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) and is associated with plagiocephaly in almost 90% of infants. Because of this shortening, the infant maintains support of the head on only one side, tilting the head toward the side of the affected muscle and turning the chin to the opposite side.

Multiple fetuses
Multiple fetuses is  related to a higher incidence of risk factors, primarily due to the fact that the “crowded” uterus means an intrauterine constraint, a factor related to deformities present at birth. It is believed that when the baby is positioned at a lower position in the uterus, there seems to be a higher risk of developing an asymmetrical skull. As the baby needs to support more weight, the mobility and capacity to change position can adversely predispose to congenital torticollis.

Lifestyle
Changes in our current lifestyle may also have contributed to the factors of postnatal deformational or positional plagiocephaly. The use of firm mattresses, frequent use of seats (in the car and for recreation, also known as babybouncers), and swings often cause the baby to stay for long periods in the supine position. The extensive use of the seat accessories would determine a greater potential to deform the skull.

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