Plagiocephaly refers to a head that is abnormally flat, which can result from a variety of causes. Positional plagiocephaly is usually caused by placing an infant in the same position, such as on the back, for long periods of time, or from being crowded in the womb. Other types can result from craniosynostosis, in which skull sutures close too soon; neck tightness present at birth called congenital muscular torticollis, and fluid around the brain known as hydrocephalus. If severe, plagiocephaly may require surgical treatment.
In most cases, flat spots on the head from positional plagiocephaly go away on their own once an infant starts sitting up and crawling. More severe positional plagiocephaly can usually be treated successfully if detected early with the use of a custom helmet that prevents the infant's head from falling to the same side when lying down and that allows the skull to expand into a more rounded shape as the brain and skull grow.
In cases where the head is severely misshapen as a result of craniosynostosis, surgery may be required to correct the problem.
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For more information about plagiocephaly treatment, call (215) 427-5196.