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): Louise and Matt
Louise and Matt first noticed their son Owen's odd head shape at about five months. They were really worried at this stage as they knew nothing about plagiocephaly and thought that something was seriously wrong with him, such as a problem with his brain growth. They immediately made an appointment with their GP, who referred them to a doctor at the local hospital.
At the appointment the doctor checked Owen's neck muscles to make sure that one side wasn't too tight – he diagnosed that all was fine and told Owen's parents that his head would "pop out in time". The doctor said to come back in a few months (he didn't mention anything about repositioning or 'tummy time').
The family returned to the hospital as Owen's head seemed to be getting worse, but as soon as the doctor saw him he said: "That looks much better." Louise told him that in fact they thought it had got worse, not better, so he sent Owen for an X-ray to make sure his sutures hadn't fused too soon. These results also came back OK; again the doctor said the head shape would resolve itself on its own and so the family left.
Fortunately Louise's mum had been looking on the internet to see if she could find out anything about babies with flat heads, and she had come across the STARband™ website. Not knowing whether the treatment was available on the NHS, Louise called the hospital and somehow got through to the children's physiotherapist – who by luck had been working with the orthotist who works for the company that manufactures the STARband.
The physio asked the family to bring Owen in to see her – after measuring his head she advised that although his plagio wasn't severe it was significant enough for a helmet to be fitted. Louise and Matt returned home thinking, "If she thought it wasn't bad then we won't go ahead and make Owen wear a helmet." By this stage, however, Owen was about eight months old, and as his first birthday approached his parents kept thinking about his head shape, finding themselves hoping that he wouldn't have cause to worry about his head as he got older.
Finally Louise called the physio, who told the family to go and see the orthotist and get his opinion. They went the following week – he diagnosed that Owen's case was bordering on severe, but that even at his age the helmet could still help him. Louise and Matt decided there and then to go ahead, and Owen was fitted with his helmet two weeks later. He will need to wear the band for four to five months and his parents were initially worried that at his age he might make a fuss of wearing it. Thankfully, Owen doesn't seem to mind his helmet one bit – as Louise says, "in fact I think he likes wearing it: he laughs when we put it on!"
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