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Wondering About Older Kids with Plagiocephaly (Flat Head from Back Sleeping)

My daughter is nine months old and her head is slowly getting better but still noticablly flat from sleeping on her back. I discuss this issue with her pediatrician at every check up and he assures me that it will continue to correct itself as she spends more time upright. I have read into this condition online and as concerning as the images I see of infants with plagiocephaly seem, I must admit that I have never come across an image of, say, a 3 year old with a flattend head. Is there anyone out there with an older child with this condition that did not improve over time? I can not afford a $3,000. helmet for cosmetic reasons and I would love to hear of some sucess stories that did not need the helmet. Thanks!

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I had never heard the term before but when I took my baby girl to the pediatrician for her 4 month visit the doctor noticed her head being flat from sleeping on her back as well. Once it was pointed out to me I noticed it more and more and became quite concerned about it. Her next visit I asked and the doctor explained to me that my daughter's head would round itself out once she became upright too.
Just to let you know...she's 19 months old now and has a perfectly shaped head. We pull her hair up in little dog ears and her head looks perfectly normal!

I too saw Dr. Jeffrey Fearon when my now 2 year old son was 6 mos. old. He also told me that his head was flat just because he wasn't rolling over yet. The sleep position was limiting his movement therefore flattening his head. He told me that once he started rolling over and being more upwardly mobile his head would round out. He was right. No helmet needed at all. Although, I have to tell you I didn't believe him at first but later saw that my son's head was doing exactly as he said...rounding out. If you want to see Dr. Jeffrey Fearon his is a specialist who is sought out from people all over the country. He is an expert in his field. He might give you some piece of mind. Hang in there and when in doubt see a specialist...get multiple opinions.

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I too saw Dr. Jeffrey Fearon when my now 2 year old son was 6 mos. old. He also told me that his head was flat just because he wasn't rolling over yet. The sleep position was limiting his movement therefore flattening his head. He told me that once he started rolling over and being more upwardly mobile his head would round out. He was right. No helmet needed at all. Although, I have to tell you I didn't believe him at first but later saw that my son's head was doing exactly as he said...rounding out. If you want to see Dr. Jeffrey Fearon his is a specialist who is sought out from people all over the country. He is an expert in his field. He might give you some piece of mind. Hang in there and when in doubt see a specialist...get multiple opinions.

We took my son to see Dr. Fearon when he was 7 mos old. His head shape was a little irregular and our pediatrician at the time made us very concerned w/this issue and even said he would have to be put in a helmet if not better by 7 mos. But, a friend (RN) of mine recommended I see Dr. Fearon before we did anything about a helmet. He is at Medical City, Childrens and is a top physician around the US. I believe he is the doctor who separated the Egyptian twins. He does amazing work!
And after seeing my son, he told us if it were his son he would do nothing. Because this mostly does reshape on its own. You do need to alternate sleep positions, and do exercises to get her to turn different directions.
But, Dr. Fearon doesn't like to take any measures that are not necessary. Believe me, he sees extreme cases.
And of course our son is now 17-mos and has a beautiful shaped head! I am so glad we hesitated to listen to our former pediatrician!

Dr. Jeffrey Fearon
7777 Forest Lane Ste. C 700
###-###-####

My niece has a flat head in the back and she is fine. I would not worry to much. Good luck.

My son also had a flat head as an infant, and I too questioned the ped. at every visit. He is now 2 and his head, while still a little flat, is definitely rounding out. Our ped. said don't worry about it, but it may take until he's 5 or 6 to completely round back out. As my ped. put it, other countries have been putting babies on their backs to sleep for decades and we don't see countries of adults walking around with flat heads =>

We had our daughter in a helmet after seeing 2 different pediatricians and getting measurements/assessments from Cranial Technologies. Once ped said they 'round out', several including ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) said they will not. The earlier it is corrected, the better and faster the results. My suggestion is that you get another opinion from a specialist or Cranial Technologies who will do measurements to assess the magnitude of the problem (flat only, flat and irregular)

I had never heard the term before but when I took my baby girl to the pediatrician for her 4 month visit the doctor noticed her head being flat from sleeping on her back as well. Once it was pointed out to me I noticed it more and more and became quite concerned about it. Her next visit I asked and the doctor explained to me that my daughter's head would round itself out once she became upright too.
Just to let you know...she's 19 months old now and has a perfectly shaped head. We pull her hair up in little dog ears and her head looks perfectly normal!

My son just turned three. I first noticed the flat spot when he was a baby. I asked my doctor who told me his plagiocephaly would self correct within a few years.

Except it didn't. And now if we tried treatment, he would have to wear a helmet for an extensive period and it still most likely will not work. The only other option is surgery. Fortunately, when I saw that his head was forming a flat spot, I started rotating his head at naptime and bedtime, so his flat spot isn't very noticeable. My daughter I had sleep on her side and her head is perfectly shaped. I wish I had ignored my doctor's reassurances and done something while he was still a baby. From what I've read, anything past 12 months has a lower success rate.

As for the price tag, try www.asemt.com. Their helmets are much more affordable, though they still have to be fitted and checked by an orthotist.

E.,
There are many different types of "flat head" most that are positional can reshaped on their own and with changing sleep habits.
There are times when the craniual sutures have closed prematurily and children do need helemts or some other intervention.
Most Pedis can tell the difference by doing an exam and watching what the growth pattern for the head circumfrence is.

D.
Pedi RN

Both my sons (now almost 11 and 13 1/2) had the flat head and this was before the days of the helmets, so we did nothing. The older one's was much worse and we even went so far as to have his skull xrayed as his head was quite mishapen overall, likely due to a very, very difficult delivery. They are perfectly fine now - actually they both have very large and well shaped heads (IMHO).

I have a pediatrician that never supported the helmet's and neither did I. From what he told me is that most heads will go "round" over time, and most 3 year olds do not have flat heads. I have 3 kids, and one of my boys was a back sleeper with a flat head. As much as I turned him he always went back to his back - at 6 years old he is completely round. Try not to do research on the internet - the internet can scare you with graphic pictures and stories. :)

C.

E.,
If you think your daughter has a " flat head" because of medical abnormality reasons, then seek for medical attention. If it 's flat because of back sleeping, in my opinions, you should not be so worry. Because many many many asians have flat heads for generations due to back sleeping , they are doing fine and are very successful in many aspects. Hair will cover the spot. Eventually, it won't be so flat when she gets older.
I do understand your concern about the cosmetic reasons for your daughter.

I am going to have to totally disagree. I was a kindergarten teacher and saw many children with flat heads. That is why I decided to have my son Kyle (who has plagio) get the helmet. I know $3000 sounds like a lot but think about what it may cause in the future if you don't get it done.
I think they do have payment options you can do. We just put ours on a no interest credit card and will pay it off over the next year. Do you have a picture of your little girl? I think by that I could tell if it was bad enough to get one. Also, you may want to go to cranial tech. and have them measure to see how bad it really is, they do it for free.
We also see a chiropractor who has really helped Kyle with his neck and it seems to have helped his shape of his head..why, I have no idea! :)
Just my input. :)
J.

Hi, E.:

I'm so glad you wrote in! I never knew anything about plagiocephaly until my son came home from Taiwan with a SEVERE case of plagio/brachycephaly from lying on his back in a crib constantly (he was neglected, and that's a separate issue).

I spoke with his pediatric craniofacial surgeon here in Dallas, who assured me that it would get better on its own. Then, I did a little research on my own and found out that that's not always true--in fact, in many cases it's blatantly FALSE. I am a member of the OlderPlagiocephaly Yahoo! group, and I can tell you that there are many, many children from all over the world with this issue, and many family who have gotten terrible advice from medical professionals. Once a child is over age 3, there is little that can be done for plagio. And, YES, there are lots of older children with unresolved plagio out there, but you tend not to notice as much because they have more/thicker hair to cover it.

Here's the deal with the helmet. There are docs who will tell you that plagio is merely cosmetic, and there are docs who will tell you that, because the head is shaped incorrectly there will be abnormal pressure on certain areas of the brain which may cause delays. There is also the issue of facial asymmetry (misaligned eyes, ears, etc) from the abnormal head. My son came home at 22 months, and the "normal" age cut-off for the band is 18 months. Once I spoke to the moms on the OlderPlagio boards and listened to their heartbreak about not being able to help their children, I decided to try to get him banded, despite the costs. I had to fight tooth and nail, including calling the president of Cranial Technologies and bullying his craniofacial surgeon, to get him fitted, but eventually he got the band. He's been wearing it 17 weeks now, and we have seen an AMAZING difference in his head shape. There is far less asymmetry and forehead bossing, and, although the back isn't classically rounded, it is MUCH MUCH better than it was. Its easy to see his progress, as the techicians at Cranial Tech bring out his original mold every time we go in for a re-adjustment. My son's head will never be perfect, but it is far better than it was.

When we began this saga, my husband and I were on the fence about banding and had finally decided to go for it. My son had *just* gotten his band when we went out for a family dinner at CiCi's pizza. The manager there came up to us rather shyly and asked if the band was to help round out my son's head. I told him, yes, it was, and he replied "Man, I wish they'd had something like that when I was a kid. Look at my head...its terrible". He did indeed have unresolved plagiocephaly, and it had affected his life and self-esteem, even it it hadn't caused developmental delays. I knew definitively at that point that we'd done the right thing.

Every family makes their own choices, but the choice will be made for you soon because time is passing. I encourange you to at least go and have your child evaluated by a banding company (you'll need a doctor's prescription for a fitting, but not for an evaluation), and make your decision from there. Plagio does NOT always correct itself, and you need all the facts/options on hand to go forward.

Best of luck and feel free to PM me if you'd like!

L.

My pediatrician noticed a flat spot on my sons head but said not to worry it would round out by the time he was 2. I brought it up again quite a while later and she again said not to worry. He is now 3 1/2 and the flat spot did not round out and is quite noticeable. It didn't seem that noticeable when he was younger but as he grew it seemed to get worse. I was a first time mom and trusted the Dr but now wish that I had pushed the issue and gotten a referral for a specialist. I would much rather have put him in a helmet for a few months and lived with the stares of strangers and had to find a way to pay for it back then to think now of him always having to live with a noticeably misshapen head. I hate to think that it most likely will cause him to be self-conscience about his head, he won't ever be able to get a buzz cut and will at some point most likely get teased about it. My advise to every parent who notices a flat spot on their child's head, don't worry about the few months of discomfort of the helmet or the worry of what people will think, that is nothing compared to your child's lifetime of living with a misshapen head. I wish I was given more information or had gotten a second opinion, looking back I would 100% have gone the helmet route had the option been given to me.

My son also had a flat head. At nine monthes my pediatrcian recommended we see a specilist. She was very concerned. So We also saw Dr Fearon, a specialist as one of the other ladies here had mentioned. He is was great, I would highly recommend you see him as well, he will be very honest with you, as to whether or not there is a problem and you need to get a helmet or additonal help. My son is 2.5 years old. Dr Fearon said at nine monthes there is nothing to worry about his head will eventually round out as his brain develops. His head looks great now! Our pediatrican recomended we get a helmet and did not agree with Dr Fearon so I then went back to him just to assure her, and he still said everything is fine. I am very glad I took him to a specialist, really this is the only way to put your mind a ease.

Hi, my pediatrician completely freaked me out at my son's 1 month check up telling me his head was too flat on one side and that we absolutely must position him on the other side or he would have end up with severe plagiocephaly. I had never in my life heard of this as a concern. As a first time mom, I was horrified (my pedi doesn't have the best bedside manner so that didn't help bring me much hope - yes, I'm considering changing). Anyway, we go for his 4 month check up next week and I think there has been improvement because now he sleeps on his stomach and I believe his head is already rounding out. Anyway, I also totally agree with Christine who said not to research on the internet too much - if you let it, there is enough info to completely freak you out. I say, get your info from specialists, pray, and then do what you believe is best in your heart. I am sure you're daughter will be just fine and have a beautiful head!

I know what your going through with this issue. My daughter was way premature (24weeks) and had to be left alone and not touched too much. This later caused her head to be extremely flat in the back. At the time she was on Medicaid b/c she was considered disabled and she had to ger the DocBand Helmet (which the insurance covers). Her head looks great and only had to wear it for a bout 5-6 months. Im not sure how other insurance co. works but if your doc says that she needs it for medical reasons then maybe they will cover it. Im very happy with our results and she is completely normal in size now and totally healthy and would never know that she was so small and sick at birth. Well good luck.

I am a 28 year old female and have a very flat head from sleeping on my back alot as a child and it never corrected itself 28 years later.Because of that i can never wear my hair in buns and i have to have my hair in alot of volume so that the flatness doesn't show.I guess i was one of the unlucky ones because my head shape never corrected.

My daughter had Metopic craniosynostosis and had to have surgery, I found a couple of websites that offer great support for all cranial issues. They are...CAPPSKIDS.ORG and CRANIOKIDS.ORG. Both are great and there are plenty of parents going through the same thing you are. But I would definately get an opinion from a specialist, it took 4 month for our ped (which we have changed) to send us to one. Almost too late for the cut off date for surgery.We saw Dr. Hobar @ Children's in Dallas. He was great! and Audrey looks beautiful! Good luck!

I'm sure your pediatrician is right, but I also used a free service that is part of Dallas Independent School System called Early Childhood Intervention (ECI). ECI is the umbrella group and their are different agencies/offices that serve different neighborhoods in Dallas. Here is the website for ECI:

http://www.dars.state.tx.us/ecis/index.shtml

When I called them they assigned a service coordinator to me who came out and did an evaluation with my daugher(she was a few months old) and an Occupational Therapist to come to my house and work with me. She showed me games and excercises I could do to help my daughter's head "round out." They included playing while lying on each side. My daughter has outgrown her "flat head" (she is now 1 year old), but the OT still comes out once per month to help me with developmental games and activities for her. The OT and coordinator have been a tremendous help to me in teaching my daughter and helping her develop with fun activities.

My son had torticollis - which means that the muscles on one side of his neck were "shorter" than the other...so he tended to lean to one side - particularlly when he slept, so it created a flat spot on the side he favored. No matter how we tried repositioning him while he slept, he always ended up on his "comfortable side". Anyway we did therapy where they stretched neck muscles on one side and strengthened on the other side and we did those same excersizes with him at home. It got much better but he still has a very SLIGHT flat spot on one side but you would never know it now that he has hair. Even in the bathtub when his hair is wet - you can't really tell that much unless you knew what to look for. As he got older I did feel like that the more time he spent more time upright that it was also helping. I also looked into a small memory-foam "mini-pillow" for him. I tried to use it to cushion his head when he was either in the crib or in his car seat. Some will tell you due to SIDS concerns that you shouldn't put anything in the crib - a call you will have to make for yourself. You can also try repositioning her once she is asleep - using rolled blankets etc to try to get her body leaning to left or right a bit. When my son spent time in the NICU his first 6 weeks of life - they did this technique quite a bit...using rolled flannel burp-cloths etc and having him lay on alternating sides. Later my son was too much of a rolly-polly to do this with.

If your daughters head is not too severely flat on the back and your pedi is not concerned, it will probably correct itself. However if you continue to be concerned - seek out another pedi's or specialists opinion. Best Wishes!

I have a six year old. when he was an infant his doctor assured me thst his head would round out. I asked him repeatedly. When my son turned 2 1/2 he told me it could only be treated before 22 months. This doctor has since lost his liscense. His new pedi tells me it may wound out a bit but nowhere close to normal. I have been trying to find info about it and if it can be treated but there isnt much out there.

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