What is Plagiocephaly? How it affects infants?

April 1, 2019
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What is Plagiocephaly? How does it affect infants?

Commonly referred to as flat head syndrome, is a condition marked by the abnormal flattening of the skull, usually occurring on one side or at the back. Primarily affecting infants, this condition manifests during the initial months of their lives, a period when their skulls are particularly soft and pliable.


Plagiocephaly: How it affects on infants?- Innovative Health

How does it affect infants?- Innovative Health

The distinctive feature of this condition lies in the altered shape of the skull, raising concerns about its impact on the overall development and well-being of the affected infants. It underscores the significance of monitoring and addressing this issue during the critical early stages of a child’s life to ensure proper skull development and mitigate potential complications associated with plagiocephaly.


Types of Plagiocephaly


Positional Plagiocephaly

It occurs when external forces, such as consistently resting on one side of the head, cause the skull to flatten asymmetrically.


Deformational Plagiocephaly

It refers to a flattening of the skull due to pressure on the baby’s head while in the womb or during birth.



Brachycephaly is characterized by a flattening at the back of the head, resulting in a wider head shape.


Causes of Plagiocephaly

It can be attributed to various factors, and its development is influenced by several key elements. The positioning of the baby in the womb, sleeping habits, premature birth, and the presence of torticollis, a condition characterized by tight or shortened neck muscles, all play crucial roles in the manifestation of plagiocephaly. Understanding these contributing factors is essential for parents and caregivers in promoting awareness and implementing preventive measures to ensure the optimal well-being of infants and address potential concerns related to plagiocephaly.

Symptoms of Plagiocephaly

Identifiable through signs such as flattening on one side of the head, asymmetrical facial features, and challenges in turning the head in either direction, manifests as a condition requiring attention. This condition, often noticed in infants, denotes an abnormal shaping of the skull and necessitates prompt assessment and intervention to address potential developmental implications. Early recognition of these indicators enables timely intervention strategies aimed at promoting optimal cranial development and mitigating associated functional limitations.


A condition characterized by an asymmetrical head shape is usually diagnosed through a visual examination conducted by a healthcare professional. However, in certain instances where a more detailed assessment is required, imaging tests like X-rays or CT scans may be employed to evaluate the extent of the condition. These diagnostic procedures help healthcare providers determine the severity of plagiocephaly and develop appropriate treatment plans tailored to the individual’s needs.

Treatment Options

Treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition. Repositioning techniques, such as encouraging tummy time and changing the baby’s sleeping position, are often recommended to gently reshape the skull. In more severe cases, medical interventions like helmet therapy or physical therapy may be prescribed to correct the head shape. However, surgery is rarely necessary and is only considered in extreme cases where other treatments have not been effective in resolving the issue.



Preventing involves several key strategies. One crucial aspect is promoting proper positioning of the baby’s head during sleep, ensuring that it doesn’t consistently rest in one position for prolonged periods. Additionally, encouraging activities like tummy time can play a significant role. Tummy time not only fosters overall development but also helps strengthen neck muscles, which can contribute to preventing plagiocephaly. By incorporating these practices into daily routines, caregivers can help mitigate the risk of plagiocephaly and support healthy development in infants.


Impact on Infants

Where a baby’s head gets flattened, which can cause problems with how they grow and might even affect them emotionally as they grow up. It’s really important to catch and treat it early to prevent any lasting issues.

Getting help early on can make a big difference in how a child develops and how they feel about themselves as they get older. So, it’s crucial for doctors and caregivers to step in early and give the support needed to make sure kids with plagiocephaly grow up healthy and happy.


Parental Concerns

Parents of infants with plagiocephaly often find themselves grappling with emotional distress and worry regarding the long-term effects of the condition on their child’s health and development. In addition to these concerns, they may also face financial burdens associated with the cost of treatment. These worries can compound the stress already inherent in caring for a young child, creating a challenging situation for parents to navigate.


Support and Resources

Parents facing the challenges of plagiocephaly can find support and guidance through a variety of avenues. There are numerous support groups dedicated to providing assistance and a sense of community to those dealing with this condition. Additionally, there are educational materials designed to inform parents about plagiocephaly and its treatments, equipping them with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions for their child’s care. These resources serve as valuable tools in helping parents navigate the complexities of plagiocephaly and access the necessary resources and treatments to address it effectively.


When to Seek Medical Advice

Parents should consult a healthcare professional if they notice any signs of plagiocephaly in their infant or have concerns about their child’s head shape or development. It’s crucial for parents to be vigilant and proactive when it comes to their child’s health and well-being, especially in the early stages of development. Seeking professional advice can help address any potential issues early on and ensure proper care and support for the child’s growth and development.



The common condition affecting infants has the potential for long-term impacts on their development when left untreated. Early diagnosis and intervention play a crucial role in effectively managing the condition and minimizing its adverse effects on the child’s overall health and well-being.

Recognizing and addressing plagiocephaly in its early stages are essential steps in ensuring optimal outcomes for the child’s growth and development. It underscores the importance of timely medical attention and support to mitigate potential challenges associated with this condition.




What are the main causes of plagiocephaly?

Positioning in the womb, sleeping habits, premature birth, and torticollis are common causes of plagiocephaly.


Can plagiocephaly be prevented?

It can be prevented by promoting proper head positioning during sleep and encouraging activities that strengthen neck muscles, such as tummy time.


How is plagiocephaly diagnosed?

Typically diagnosed through a visual examination by a healthcare professional, supplemented by imaging tests in some cases.


What are the treatment options for plagiocephaly?

Treatment options include repositioning techniques, helmet therapy, physical therapy, and surgery in severe cases.


Is plagiocephaly reversible?

With early intervention and appropriate treatment, plagiocephaly can often be reversed or minimized.

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