Plagiocephaly, Brachycephaly, and Scaphocephaly: How Can Cranial Bands Help in Treating These Conditions?
Infants often have skull deformations due to a number of reasons. This is commonly known as flat head syndrome. But you don’t have to worry in most cases? Studies suggest that nearly all infants have a small degree of deformation in the skull.
On the other hand, when the deformation is beyond normal, it can lead to many developmental issues. It includes ADHD, ADD, issues with speech, slow motor movement, aversion to social interaction, and more.
These flat head syndromes are either congenital or acquired — based on whether they developed the condition in the womb or after birth. It is of three types:
1. Plagiocephaly: It’s the flattening of the skull’s back on the side. Typically, it’s a consequence of your baby lying on the back with its head exerting more pressure on one side. At times, it is seen when there isn’t enough fluid in the mother’s amniotic sac. The condition is more likely to occur if the baby is delivered prematurely or is having growth issues.
2. Brachycephaly: It’s the flattening of the skull’s back, and the cause is often linked to the baby lying on the back for long spells. Just like plagiocephaly, it can also occur if there aren’t enough amniotic sac fluids in the mother’s womb. At times, it occurs when there are two or more fetuses in the womb.
3. Scaphocephaly: This is the rarest of the three conditions. The skull’s side is fattened to create an elongation of sorts. It’s caused when the baby lays on its side for many hours in its initial months. Babies who are in the neonatal ICU for a long time tend to develop this condition since they spend a lot of time lying on their side. Although rare, it can also occur due to physical exertion when the baby is in the womb.
Now that we have an idea about flat head syndrome and the ways in which it develops, let’s look at the use of cranial bands to treat them.
When Does Your Baby Need a Cranial Band?
A cranial remolding helmet or a cranial band is called so because it is used to correct the cranium portion of the human brain. It’s worth noting that cranial bands and helmets are a bit different in their appearance and nature of use, but for the sake of the article, we’ll use them interchangeably.
A 2188 patient study conducted at Claude-Bernard University showed that by using a cranial helmet, nearly 4 in 5 babies with a severe flat head condition saw improvements. On the contrary, there are studies that show they don’t bring about any significant changes. Either way, using a cranial band will not harm your child’s growth in any way.
Tips to Make the Process Easier
As is the case with any medical device, there are a few good practices to be followed if your kid is going to wear a cranial helmet. Here are the most important ones.
1. Consult the Experts
Does the current plagiocephalic condition warrant a helmet? Do thorough research about your child’s condition and get them treated in the best possible manner. While you can consult blogs and other parents who went through the same process, your doctor’s advice should be given due importance. After all, it’s their medical expertise that is going to help your child’s flat head condition improve.
2. Make It Fun
Your child should want to wear a helmet. Give it a name, some colors, and a personality to it. Make it an enjoyable activity for them by playing their favorite music, reading a story they like, or simply by bringing out their favorite toy. When you start associating the helmet with positive things, your child will start doing the same.
3. Regular Maintenance
Remember, cranial helmets are not like your kid’s regular clothing. Clean any dirt on the helmet from time to time. It’s best to use your child’s soaps and shampoos to wash the helmet to avoid any allergic reactions. If you feel the helmet smells a lot, you can use scented baby products (ones made of tea tree oil and the likes). Finally, follow the instructions given by your orthotist.
4. Commit to the Process
Making an infant wear extra apparel is never going to be easy. So, brace yourself for all the struggle. Don’t stop using the helmet because it’s too inconvenient or yields social pressures. Ideally, your child should be wearing a cranial band for over 22 hours a day.
Your infant’s brain size doubles in size by their second birthday. So, even if you miss a single growth spurt, it will undo all the efforts of wearing the helmet. Meet your doctors and orthotists periodically. Based on developments happening in your child, they might want to change the process or make tweaks to the helmet.
If you’re not comfortable with the treatment prescribed by your doctors or orthotist, you can opt for physical therapy instead. Ensure that the therapist you approach is capable and has experience working with children. Whether it’s cranial helmets or physical therapy, focus on what’s best for the child while keeping your beliefs and social pressures aside.
Looking for the ideal infant cranial band for your child? Contact us at Align Clinic. With the help of skilled doctors and brilliant medical engineering minds, we’ll take care of your pediatric orthosis needs in the best possible manner. Meet us at a clinic near you today.
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