From Diagnosis to Healing, We’re Here For You
We know anything affecting your baby’s head can be scary. If your child is diagnosed with craniosynostosis or plagiocephaly, our experienced, specialized team of pediatric plastic surgeons and neurosurgeons will collaborate with you, your family and other members of your baby’s multidisciplinary care team to create a customized treatment plan.
At AdventHealth for Children, you’ll have access to the latest advances in treating craniosynostosis and plagiocephaly. And you’ll be supported at every turn by caring, dedicated professionals with the same goal in mind: helping your child thrive.
Video Series: Craniosynostosis and Plagiocephaly
Dr. Raj Sawh-Martinez, Medical Director of Pediatric Plastic Surgery at AdventHealth for Children, discusses craniosynostosis and plagiocephaly, how these conditions are diagnosed and the best treatment options for parents to consider.
Craniosynostosis is a rare birth defect that affects 1 in every 2,200 live births. It happens when one or more of the joints in your baby’s skull fuse together before the brain finishes developing. Although brain damage can happen in severe cases, early diagnosis and treatment can help ensure the very best results, including cognitive normalcy and an unaffected appearance. Children with craniosynostosis may also experience problems with their eyes and ears.
At AdventHealth for Children, we’re proud to offer the most innovative, evidence-based and proven treatments that lead to better outcomes, including surgical care, therapy and minimally invasive approaches. But even more important is that every decision we make centers around your baby. Each of our team members administers medicine and care from the heart. We’ll use our experience and compassion to answer your questions and guide your family to the best treatment plan for your baby.
- Causes of Craniosynostosis
- Syndromic Craniosynostosis
- Signs and Symptoms of Craniosynostosis
- Craniosynostosis Diagnosis
- Craniosynostosis Treatment
Frequently Asked Questions about Craniosynostosis
We're here to provide answers to questions you may have when your child receives a diagnosis for craniosynostosis.
Question: Is craniosynostosis considered cosmetic?Answer:Treatment of craniosynostosis is not considered cosmetic and is focused on relieving any pressure on the growth of a child's brain due to the premature fusion of the skull sutures.
Question: Does my child need surgery?Answer:If your child has been diagnosed with a fused suture, you should strongly consider surgery. Craniosynostosis is a progressive deformity. As your child’s brain grows, the skull will need to expand. If your child has a synostosis, this can prevent proper expansion of the skull. Left untreated, it can lead to future complications for your child.
Your Child's Care Team
- Complex Care Pediatricians
- Genetic Specialists
- Personalized Care Coordinators
- Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
- Physician Assistants
- Registered Dietitians
- Social Workers
Understanding Positional Plagiocephaly
Positional plagiocephaly is a condition where your baby has a flat, misshapen or asymmetrical appearance to their head due to repeated pressure on one part of the skull. It is a relatively common condition, affecting nearly half of all infants to some degree. There are various treatment options available and our care team can provide parents guidance on what is the best pathway for their child.
Plagiocephaly can be caused by a number of things, including the following:
- Positional plagiocephaly — when a baby spends too much time lying in the same position on one side of the head, adding pressure to the same area of their skull
- Torticollis — a relatively rare condition in which a baby’s neck muscles contract, causing the head to twist to one side and tilt at an unusual angle
- Multiple births
- Uterus shape and size
- Sleeping position
Plagiocephaly is typically diagnosed during infancy and can develop over the first six month of life. This condition is something that would initially be noticed by a baby's pediatrician during routine exams or even by parents who may notice any concerning areas regarding their baby's head shape. Although initial discussions regarding this condition can happen with a pediatrician, a referral to a craniofacial specialist will be required to properly have a true diagnosis.
Our craniofacial team would first need to rule out any other possible conditions such as craniosynostosis prior to recommending the best plan for treatment.
Our team at AdventHealth for Children works closely with you and your child's pediatrician to develop a treatment plan that corrects your baby's head shape. The may include any of the following:
- Physical therapy such as tummy time to help strengthen your child's neck muscles and allow them to move their head more during sleep
- Varying sleep positions to ensure a child is not putting pressure only on one specific part of their head
- Wearing corrective headbands or cranial helmets
To ensure a seamless patient experience, our care team works closely with local cranial helmet organizations and providers and consistently connecting with them on a patient's progress and development.
Frequently Asked Questions about Plagiocephaly
If you have concerns about your baby's head shape, we are here to help you navigate your options for treatment and provide you guidance with any questions you may have.
Question: Does my child need treatment for their plagiocephaly?Answer:If your child is less than four months old and seems to be developing a flattening or asymmetry on their head, your doctor may recommend repositioning or physical therapy. If these conservative treatments do not correct the condition, you may be referred to a craniofacial provider for evaluation. A craniofacial surgeon or pediatric neurosurgeon can rule out any underlying conditions and discuss all possible treatment options, including use of a cranial orthosis – cranial band or helmet.
Question: Does my baby need a cranial band?Answer:If your child is 5-6 months or older and repositioning has not made significant improvement to the shape of your baby's head, it may be time to consider orthotic treatment. A cranial band or helmet helps your baby’s skull to grow to the intended shape.
Question: Does insurance cover cranial band treatment?Answer:Insurance typically covers cranial helmet molding once a craniofacial provider has evaluated your baby to confirm plagiocephaly, ruled out craniosynostosis and written a prescription for cranial helmet molding. Insurance co-pays may apply.
Question: How long will my baby need a cranial band/helmet?Answer:Cranial helmet molding for plagiocephaly is typically recommended at 6 months of age after other recommended measures have failed to correct your baby’s head shape. Cranial helmet molding can be effective until approximately 12 months of age.
Why Choose Us
At AdventHealth for Children, our team of plastic and reconstructive surgeons care for your child’s and family’s body, mind and spirit with comprehensive, compassionate care.
Expert and Compassionate Care
Our team is here to help heal your child’s body, mind and spirit. We’ll work with specialists across medical fields to ensure your little one gets the care, attention and therapy they deserve to live well, be happy and thrive.