Know When to Treat Your Infant's Abnormal Head Shape

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2005-08-17 13:25

Abnormal Head Shape Treatment

When a baby is born there is usually some deformity of the head during the birthing process. In most cases, this goes away after the first six weeks. However, if after six weeks a parent or caregiver notices that the shape of the head looks abnormal, they should bring it to the attention of their pediatrician.

With the recommendation that babies sleep on their backs to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), parents are noticing an increase in abnormal or flattened head shapes. This flattened head syndrome, also known as positional (or deformational) plagiocephaly, results from preferentially lying on one side of the head. Deformational brachycephaly is a flattening across the back of the head.

"There are several reasons that a baby will develop positional plagiocephaly or positional brachycephaly. Because babies spend a lot of time on their backs, it causes pressure to be applied to just one area of the head. Babies' bones are soft so this pressure causes the bone to flatten and shift," says Scot Sepe, chief of orthotics and prosthetics at Arkansas Children's Hospital. "This condition can also develop inside the mother's uterus if there are multiple babies, large-size babies or if the mother has a small uterus or uterus abnormalities. Premature babies, also have a higher risk because their bones are extra soft. Some babies have a condition called torticollis, which is the tightening of the neck muscle on one side of the neck, which causes their head to remain in one position."

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