Cranial Band Treatment for Plagiocephaly,
Brachycephaly and Scaphocephaly
The shape of your baby's head probably isn't the first thing you see when you look at them. It's their beautiful smile, chubby cheeks and big bright eyes.
Sometimes it is difficult to look beyond the cuteness and see the fundamentals of their head shape, ear and facial alignment and the tilt of their neck.Take a minute and ask yourself, "What does my baby's head really look like?"
Download a CranioKidz Informational Booklet on Head Shape Deformities
Top view of 4 Common Infant Head Shape Deformities
Baby's head shape: What's normal?
A baby's head is easily molded. Many newborns have slightly lopsided heads. Sometimes a baby's head is molded unevenly while passing through the birth canal. In other cases, head shape changes after birth as a result of spending too much time in one position. Although your baby's head shape will probably even out on its own, you can help prevent flat spots — and detect more-serious problems.
How positioning affects head shape
You'll notice two soft areas at the top of your baby's head where the skull bones haven't yet grown together. These spots, called fontanels, allow a baby's relatively large head to move through the narrow birth canal. They also accommodate your baby's rapidly growing brain during infancy. But because your baby's skull is malleable, too much time in one position can result in an uneven head shape well past the time when birth-related lopsidedness evens out. This is known as positional molding.
Positional molding is often most noticeable when you're looking at your baby's head from above. From that view, the back of your baby's head may look flatter on one side than on the other. The cheekbone on the flat side may protrude, and the ear on the flat side may look pushed forward.
What you can do about it?
Positional molding is most common in babies who spend most of their time on their backs in cribs, car seats or infant seats. Although this is the safest position for sleep, there's plenty you can to do to keep your baby's head from becoming flat or lopsided.
- Change direction. Place your baby on his or her back to sleep, but alternate the direction your baby's head faces — or place your baby's head near the foot of the crib one day, the head of the crib the next. It's also helpful to hold your baby with alternate arms at each feeding.
- Hold your baby. Holding your baby when he or she is awake will help relieve pressure on your baby's head from swings, carriers and infant seats.
- Try tummy time. With close supervision, place your baby on his or her tummy to play. Make sure the surface is firm. If you must leave the room, bring your baby with you.
- Get creative. Position your baby so that he or she will have to turn away from the flattened side of the head to look at you or to track movement or sound in the room. Move the crib occasionally to give your baby a new vantage point. Never rest your baby's head on a pillow or other type of soft bedding.
Helmets and head shape
Varying a baby's head position is typically enough to prevent or treat flat spots. If the lopsidedness doesn't improve within a few months, your baby's doctor might prescribe a special molded cranial band to help reshape your baby's head. The bands work by applying a gentle but constant pressure to redirect skull growth.
Cranial Bands are most effective when treatment begins by age 4 to 6 months, when the skull is still malleable and the brain is growing rapidly. The headband is worn continuously during the treatment period — often about 12 weeks — with time off only to clean the device and the skin underneath. Adjustments to the headband or helmet may be needed every few weeks. Correction is possible for older babies, too, but the cranial band may need to be worn for a longer period time.
Main Causes of Positional
Plagiocephaly and Brachycephaly?
By keeping an infant's head in one position for long periods of time, the
skull flattens (external pressure). Occasionally, a baby is born with this
flattening because of a tight intrauterine environment (i.e., in multiple
births, small maternal pelvis, or with a breech position). Other factors which
may increase the risk of positional plagiocephaly include the following:
One cause of positional plagiocephaly may be muscular torticollis. Muscular
torticollis is a congenital (present at birth) finding in which one or more
of the neck muscles is extremely tight, causing the head to tilt and/or turn
in the same direction. Torticollis is often associated with the development
of plagiocephaly since the infant holds his/her head against the mattress
in the same position repeatedly.
Premature infants are at a higher risk for plagiocephaly since the cranial
bones become stronger and harder in the last 10 weeks of pregnancy. Also,
since many premature infants spend extended periods of time in the neonatal
intensive care (NICU) unit on a respirator, their heads are maintained in
a fixed position, increasing the risk for this condition.
Infants who sleep on their backs or in car seats without alternating positions
for extended periods of time are also at a higher risk for deformational plagiocephaly.
Q and A
How does a remolding cranial band correct positional plagiocephaly and Brachycephaly?
Cranial Bands are made of an outer plastic shell with a foam lining. Gentle,
persistent pressures are applied to capture the natural growth of an infant's
head, while inhibiting growth in the prominent areas and allowing for growth
in the flat regions. As the head grows, adjustments are made frequently. The
helmet essentially provides a tight, round space for the head to grow into.
How long will my child wear a corrective cranial band?
The average treatment with a cranial band is usually three to six months, depending
on the age of the infant and the severity of the condition. Careful and frequent
monitoring is required. Helmets must be prescribed by a licensed physician.
Do insurance companies pay for cranial bands?
Most insurance companies including Ohio Medicaid traditionally pay for cranial bands. Each insurance company has their own protocols on what requirements must be met before a cranial band will be paid for.
Please contact CranioKidz at 419-476-4248 so one of our insurance specialists can help navigate you through the process.
Information on Cranial
Band Insurance Coverage Requirements
What if insurance does not pay for a cranial band?
If you do have trouble obtaining insurance coverage to cover the cost of your child's cranial band or wish to proceed with treatment before insurance authorization is finalized, CranioKidz does accept all credit cards and also offers CareCredit: http://carecredit.com that provides a convenient payment plan for the treatment.
Your Child's First Visit
Once your child has a prescription for a cranial band, the next step is to contact our office for an appointment. Our professional staff is trained to assist you with obtaining insurance authorization for the treatment. This ‘pre-authorization’ process can take up to 4 weeks, depending on your specific insurance plan. Once insurance authorization is complete your child’s the first visit to our office will include a thorough discussion about your child’s cranial treatment plan.
Next, with the parent's assistance, your child will then lye on their back in our state of the art cranial scanner to gather
the necessary digital data to fabricate the custom cranial band. This traditionally takes only 2 seconds.
DONE...no messy cast is needed.
Before leaving our office we will schedule a follow-up appointment for the fitting of your child’s cranial band. This next appointment will be in approximately 10 -14 days.
First Fitting Appointment
The initial fitting and instructional process takes approximately 90 minutes during which time modifications will be made to the band to insure an optimal fit. We will then provide both written and verbal instructions on the proper application of the band, wearing schedule and hygienic care.
Follow-up appointments are routinely made every 3-4 weeks but at times it may be necessary to see your child more often if the cranial band requires additional modifications resulting from cranial growth. Traditionally follow-up appointments last between 15-30 minutes at which time we will re-evaluate your child’s head and cranial band for proper fit. We will then take a comparative scan of your child’s head to evaluate the amount correction that has been obtained since the last visit. Based on the data further modifications may be performed on the band to allow for additional growth on the affected side.
Through-out the entire treatment process the family will receive copies of their child’s cranial scan data, allowing them to follow along with their progress. We are also able share this data with the referring physician and therapist.
The day will come when your child no longer requires cranial band treatment. Based on the final cranial scanner data, clinical examination and discussion with the family and physician, we will determine when it is appropriate to discontinue your infant's cranial band treatment.
About CranioKidz StarScanner
CranioKidz is the only facility in Ohio that utilizes the state- of- the- art, FDA approved STARscanner™ laser data acquisition system. The cranial scanner utilizes 3-D surface scanning technology and allows cranial band practitioners to collect and compare head shape information during the treatment of positional plagiocephaly and brachcephaly.
Benefits Over Casting
The STARscanner Cranial Scanner eliminates the lengthy casting process, which can be a traumatic experience for infants and care givers.
• Scans are safe and fast - less than two seconds.
• Quick turnaround time leads to earlier treatment and improves initial fit and function.
• The STARscanner™ measures the improvement of overall symmetry and substantiates the efficacy of orthotic treatment.
• Scans provide quantifiable pre- and post-treatment documentation for families and referral services
Click On picture below to see some of our Cranio Kidz Stars
DECORATING YOUR CHILD'S BAND
Courtesy of Bling Your Band
In addition to the numerous transfer colors offered by CranioKidz, there are many other ways to decorate your child's cranial band. If you are considering an alternative to decorating your child's band you may want to stick to a neutral color such as white, pink or blue.
Simply applying decorative stickers and decals to the band can create an beautiful artisitic expression of your baby's unique personality. Many parents choose to go to their local craft shop to purchase these supplies such as Jo-Ann Crafts or Hobby Lobby.
Another method would be to purchase a set of customized decals specifically designed to accent your baby's exceptional characteristics. 'Bling Your Band' is one company we recommend.
The band can also be painted. Some parents elect to create their own
Rembrandt. Others contact a local artist to create the masterpiece. If using paints , we recommend the following:
Acrylic Paint (Folk Art®, Apple
Water-based latex paints
Paint markers/pens (Painters®,
Krylon Fusion for Plastic®
1) When painting the outside of the band, always keep the white inner foam liner free from paint by masking
off the inside and taping around the edges.
2) Please be aware that adding ornaments to the band such as bows, rhinestones and sequins could pose
choking hazard if they fall off.
Additional Information on Cranial Deformity Related Subjects
Evidence-Based Care of the Child With Deformational Plagiocephaly, Part I: Assessment and Diagnosis
Band Litigation "State's Attorney Settles lawsuit"
Fights for Plagiocephaly/ Torticollis Awareness
One Often Missed Medical Problem in Infant
about Plagiocephaly, an online parent's support group
Northwest Professional Center
723 Phillips Ave., Bldg F
Toledo, Ohio 43612
All contents copyright © Cole Orthotic Pediatric Center1999-2012. All rights reserved.
This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.
Monday, July 23, 2012