Flat Head Syndrome, also known as Positional Plagiocephaly, is a condition where an infant’s head becomes flattened in one area due to prolonged pressure on that spot. This is a common condition that affects many infants, but it can be concerning for parents and caregivers. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for Flat Head Syndrome.
One of the primary causes of Flat Head Syndrome is the positioning of an infant’s head. Infants who spend a lot of time on their backs may develop a flattened area on the back of their heads. This is because the weight of their head is pressing down on that spot.
Infants who are born with the assistance of forceps or vacuum extraction may be more likely to develop Flat Head Syndrome. This is because these tools can put pressure on the infant’s head during delivery.
Muscular Torticollis is a condition where the muscles on one side of an infant’s neck are tighter than the other side. This can cause an infant to favor one side when lying down, which can lead to a flattened area on the back of their head.
Infants who are born prematurely may be more likely to develop Flat Head Syndrome. This is because their skulls are softer and more pliable, making them more susceptible to pressure and deformation.
Flattened Area on the Head
The primary symptom of Flat Head Syndrome is a flattened area on the back of an infant’s head. This may be more pronounced on one side than the other.
If Flat Head Syndrome is left untreated, it can lead to an overall misshapen head. This may include bulging on one side or a flat spot on the back of the head.
Infants with Flat Head Syndrome may also have facial asymmetry. This may include uneven ears, eyes, or cheekbones.
The first line of treatment for Flat Head Syndrome is repositioning. This involves changing the position of an infant’s head frequently throughout the day to prevent prolonged pressure on one spot.
Tummy time is another effective treatment for Flat Head Syndrome. This involves placing an infant on their stomach for short periods throughout the day to strengthen their neck muscles and prevent flat spots on the back of their head.
In severe cases of Flat Head Syndrome, a helmet may be recommended. This helmet is worn for several months and helps to reshape the infant’s head.
If an infant has Muscular Torticollis, physical therapy may be recommended to help stretch and strengthen their neck muscles.
In rare cases, surgery may be required to correct Flat Head Syndrome. This is typically only recommended in severe cases where other treatments have been unsuccessful.
What Causes Flat Head Syndrome?
Flat Head Syndrome is caused by prolonged pressure on one spot on an infant’s head. This can be due to positioning, assisted birth, Muscular Torticollis, or premature birth.
Is Flat Head Syndrome Dangerous?
Flat Head Syndrome is not typically dangerous, but it can lead to cosmetic issues if left untreated. In severe cases, it may require a helmet or surgery to correct.
Can Flat Head Syndrome Be Prevented?
Flat Head Syndrome can be prevented by repositioning an infant’s head frequently and providing plenty of tummy time.
When Should I Be Concerned About Flat Head Syndrome?
If you notice a flattened area on your infant’s head or facial asymmetry, you should consult your pediatrician. They can recommend treatment options and monitor your infant’s progress.
How Long Does Treatment for Flat Head Syndrome Take?
The length of treatment for Flat Head Syndrome depends on the severity of the condition and the treatment method used. Repositioning and tummy time may take several months, while a helmet may need to be worn for several months to a year.
Is Surgery Required for Flat Head Syndrome?
Surgery is only required in severe cases of Flat Head Syndrome where other treatment options have been unsuccessful.
Can Flat Head Syndrome Cause Developmental Delays?
Flat Head Syndrome is not typically associated with developmental delays.
Will My Infant’s Head Return to Normal?
If Flat Head Syndrome is caught early and treated promptly, an infant’s head will typically return to a normal shape.
Effective treatment options are available for Flat Head Syndrome, and most infants will see improvement with these treatments. Treatment can also prevent cosmetic issues and the need for more invasive treatment options.
Provide plenty of tummy time for your infant and reposition their head frequently throughout the day. Limit the amount of time your infant spends in car seats, swings, and bouncers. Talk to your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your infant’s head shape.
Flat Head Syndrome is a common condition that affects many infants. It is caused by prolonged pressure on one spot on an infant’s head and can lead to cosmetic issues if left untreated. Treatment options include repositioning, tummy time, helmets, physical therapy, and surgery in severe cases. Prevention methods include providing plenty of tummy time and repositioning an infant’s head frequently. If you have concerns about your infant’s head shape, consult your pediatrician.