We do so many things with our new babies: check their fingers and toes, and look at all their features, usually perfect miniatures. After a vaginal delivery babies can have temporary skull deformations from the process, but these resolve early in the newborn period, mainly because the skull bones are designed to slide against each other to permit this passage.
This malleability also means that with consistently following pediatrician’s recommendations to place babies on their backs for all naps and sleep, the back of the head can become pretty flat. And if your baby has a preference for tilting their head in one direction, this can become asymmetric. This is called positional plagiocephaly, to be distinguished from craniosynostosis which is an abnormal head shape caused by early fusion of skull bones that changes the growth pattern. Craniosynostosis produces characteristic head shapes (based on which bones are fused) that can be diagnosed by an experienced physician and confirmed with plain xrays or low-dose CT scans, and typically needs surgery.
Positional plagiocephaly is treated with physical therapy and other maneuvers parents can do at home; in rare instances, helmet therapy is prescribed to relieve the pressure and allow the skull to expand uniformly with brain growth, which is very rapid over the first year.
If you’re concerned about your baby’s head shape, see your pediatrician first! Talk about the options together and consider early evaluation before 6 months so that either nonsurgical measures can be initiated to reduce the deformity of positional plagiocephaly, or your baby can be considered for surgery if craniosynostosis is found.
Dr. Yee enjoys evaluating and taking care of children, please call if you would like to schedule an appointment” 7075258080.