Flat head syndrome, plagiocephaly

Plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) is a condition in infants characterised by an asymmetrical-looking skull.

Overview

Plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) is a condition in infants characterised by an asymmetrical-looking skull. It is often caused by remaining in the same lying/sleeping position for prolonged periods, which can lead to deformation of the skull. Changing the lying position prevents plagiocephaly.

Symptoms

  • Asymmetrical distortion of the skull (a flattened back of the head is typical)

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • The change to the shape of the skull can already occur in the womb prior to the birth
  • Same sleeping and lying position (“position-dependent”)

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Testing the range of motion of the neck
  • Assessing the child’s level of development
  • Measuring the head circumference, weight and size
Possible therapies
  • Alternate lying/sleeping position
  • Physiotherapy

Most “position-dependent” flat heads self-correct within the first two years (if the child’s lying position is alternated).

What can I do myself?

Prevention

  • Change the child's lying position every night at bedtime
  • Let the child lie on its stomach for a short time, several times a day (watch the child during this time)

When to see a doctor?

  • Child's skull is deformed.

Synonyms

Flat head syndrome, plagiocephaly

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