Plagiocephaly and brachycephaly have both been successfully treated with helmets for many years. Discover some treatment success stories below – simply click a child’s name from the list on the left to view their story.
Parent(s): Kerstin and Anton
Klara was born by emergency C-section on 19 August 2004 at the Rosie Maternity Hospital in Cambridge. Between ten and 11 weeks parents Kerstin and Anton noticed that one of her ears appeared to stick out slightly, but they just assumed she had been sleeping on it. However, at four months old it became clear that Klara's head shape had changed – and that her ear was not in fact sticking out: rather her head shape had become asymmetric.
Klara's parents knew she had a definite preference to lie and sleep with her head to one side; their health visitor told them that this was the cause of her head shape, but that they shouldn't worry as it would sort itself out as she grew older. Although they strove to keep Klara from putting pressure on that side of her head, it had become noticeably worse by the time she was six months old.
Kerstin decided to talk to the health visitor again and was reassured that because Klara was now sitting the problem would sort itself out with further growth. At this stage, however, Anton became alarmed when he realised the degree of the problem, especially when looking down at the dramatic misalignment of Klara's ears, and both parents decided they would visit their GP. At this stage Klara was seven months old.
The GP told them the asymmetry was severe and that it would probably not correct itself much, but there was apparently nothing they could do about it. When they asked whether this could have been spotted sooner, they were told that finding the problem sooner would not have helped and would just have caused worry. The GP also said that perhaps nobody would notice as Klara's hair might cover the asymmetry once she was older.
Kerstin and Anton decided they did not want to take the risk of hoping it somehow sorted itself out, and they started to research the condition on the internet. They came across the website Headstart4Babies, which gave them details of plagiocephaly and helmet therapy, and got in touch with the organisers.
Subsequently, Klara and her parents flew to Germany a few days later and visited a specialist's clinic. He confirmed that Klara had a classic case of positional plagiocephaly and said that a difficult position in the womb had probably resulted in Klara's tendency to turn her head to one side, which together with back-sleeping contributed to the problem.
The specialist measured Klara's asymmetry at 22mm and a cast was made the same day. The following day Klara's helmet was fitted, which she would wear for five months. She does not mind wearing the helmet at all, and when the family visited the specialist's clinic in London in May 2005 for her first progress assessment, her asymmetry had reduced to just 8mm in only six weeks. Kerstin and Anton were thrilled, as the helmet seemed to be working better than they had even hoped, and both are very hopeful for a full or near complete correction of Klara's asymmetry in the long term. They admit that even if Klara had to stop wearing the helmet short of the projected five months, they wouldn't be concerned as her misalignment is "far, far less noticeable than it was before".
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