Successful correction of head shape can be easily achieved by early detection of flat head syndrome (positional plagiocephaly)

Faster and better recovery of flat head syndrome can be brought about by early recognition of preferred head position (positional preference) and flat spot. In contrast late detection of positional plagiocephaly may result in severe head shape asymmetry.

early recognition of plagiocephaly

Early recognition and intervention brings about faster and better chance of recovery.

When the early sign of flat head syndrome (deformational plagiocephaly) is recognized early, usually the deformation is mild because it is just starting to form and when it is intervened immediately by removing the pressure then due to the fast growth rate of the head in the early stage of life, the head can recover its normal shape quickly.

late recognition of plagiocephaly

On the other hand when the problem is detected later, the deformation may have progressed rapidly and become severe, due to the slow growth the head shape recovery will be slow and depending on the severity of the deformation, full recovery may not be possible for the severe cases.

head growth rate
The 3 stages of the head growth

Self correction or normalization of the head shape depends on the normal growth rate of the head.

The 3 stages of head growth:

Stage 1: from birth to 3 months. The steepest curve of the head growth. The head grows at the fastest rate.

Stage 2: from 4 to 12 months. Reduced growth rate. The head growth rate gradually slows down.

Stage 3: from 12 to 18 month. Head growth rate is reaching plateau. Head has almost reached the adult size and there is very little increment.

The early sign of flat head syndrome: Preferred head position (positional preference)

Change your baby's preferred head position as soon as you detected it.

Studies have shown that positional preference is strongly associated to the development of deformational plagiocephaly.

Positional preference is when in laying back position the baby's head turn to either left or right ¾ of the observed time (minimum 15 min) without active rotation of the head over the full range of 180 degrees.

High risk factors of flat head syndrome:

  • Twins or from the multiple births
  • Born with a lower gestational age (at round 36 weeks
  • Male
  • With positional preference
  • With torticollis
  • With head tilt

Parents of these high risk group babies should be more vigilant and proactive in taking preventative measures.

Studies have shown that the high risk group babies had a higher chance of developing severe flat head syndrome.