Success stories

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.

Oliver

Oliver's story

Parent(s): Sharon and Jonathan

Location: Surrey

Oliver was born full term and with a normal but quick delivery. At birth his head shape showed no signs of any flattening, but within a few days his mother Sharon noticed the back of his head was looking flatter. She was perhaps more aware of this than most as her six-year-old daughter has plagiocephaly, but obliquely at one side of the rear of her skull.

At the time Sharon looked into every possible course of action, including specialist consultations at Great Ormond Street Hospital; however, short of a major skull operation, nobody could suggest a suitable course of treatment. Sharon was advised to place her daughter's head on different sides when sleeping to improve the situation. She did this religiously but it had no effect. Fortunately, her daughter has thick hair and under normal circumstances it does not show.

In Oliver's case she knew it would be harder for him in the future if no action was taken, as he would obviously not have the benefit of a female hairstyle to conceal the shape. A scour of the internet showed that the nearest treatment centre seemed to be in Barcelona, which was offering a helmet solution.

Sharon heard via her health visitor that a specialist was practising out of King's College Hospital in London; she investigated this further and learned that a specialist was conducting a trial there and so arranged to meet him. He saw Oliver at three months old and recommended the use of a lightweight, open helmet, which was subsequently fitted in November 2004.

The process involved taking a plaster cast, from which the head shape is determined, and then creating the helmet and lining it with polystyrene, which can be shaved off as the head develops. Oliver is now a third of the way through his treatment and the helmet seems to be producing significant early improvements on all skull measurements. He has no problems with the helmet, apart from the fact that he can become a little hot wearing it.

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