Frequently Asked Questions
At a young age, a baby's head is very soft and sensitive to external force. If there is too much prolonged pressure on one side or the entire back of the head, they can develop plagiocephaly (flat spots) as a result.
The main risk factors include:
Note that it is still highly recommended that babies be put to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Restrictive devices (car seats, smart sleepers, etc.)
Positioning in the womb
Multiple births (twins) due to limited space in utero
The latest studies show that nearly 1 in 2 (47%) infants today have some degree of plagiocephaly. 1 in 10 babies have a severe enough degree that experts would recommend treatment with a cranial orthotic.
Yes, having babies sleep on their backs saves lives! According to the American Academy of Pediatricians, the move to back sleeping, known as the Back to Sleep campaign, has reduced SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by more than 50%.
Plagiocephaly won’t have any lasting harmful effects on your baby’s neurological development. However, if left untreated it is possible the head will remain misshapen into adulthood.
Simple at-home practices including supervised tummy time and repositioning techniques are known to prevent and improve abnormal head shapes up until about four months of age. Additionally, limiting the use of convenience devices, such as car seats, infant carriers and swings, is also recommended.
Please use our online scheduler to make an appointment for a free head shape evaluation at the clinic location nearest you.
Yes! Evaluations are 100% free of charge. Our evaluations produce an accurate measurement of your baby’s head shape to determine if they will benefit from treatment. From there, parents can make an informed decision on the best course of treatment for their little one(s).
We typically treat infants between the ages of 3 to 18 months.
The optimal time to begin treatment with a DOC Band is between 4-6 months of age. However, the DOC Band is a proven plagiocephaly treatment for babies 3-18 months of age.
Our banded treatment relies on natural brain growth which is rapid during the first 6 months of life, steady from six to 18 months, then slows through 24 months of age. Starting treatment early has been shown to reduce overall treatment time.
The treatment of plagiocephaly is time sensitive. Because the shape of the head is fully formed by age 2, cranial helmet therapy can no longer correct flattened areas.
You can follow our at-home assessment to get a better understanding of your baby’s head shape.
Please note that this assessment is not meant to replace the diagnosis of a medical professional. If you’re concerned about your baby’s head shape, you can schedule a free evaluation at the clinic location nearest you.
On average, treatment times are between 5 weeks and 4 months. However, treatment time will depend on your baby’s age and the severity of the condition.
The earlier treatment begins, the quicker the result can be achieved. The DOC Band relies on natural brain growth, which is rapid during the first 6 months of life, steady from six to 18 months, then slows through 24 months of age. The more severe the condition, regardless of age, the longer it will take to correct the shape of the head.
Starting treatment earlier between the ages of 4 and 6 months, a period of rapid head growth, has been shown to reduce overall treatment time. Though, noticeable improvement can be achieved using the band between three and 18 months of age.
Each band is custom-made for your baby’s head and is made within 7–14 days following the imaging appointment.
Typically, we will adjust your baby’s DOC Band every 1-2 weeks, depending on your baby’s growth rate.
The band must be regularly adjusted to accommodate head growth and optimize your baby’s outcome. Follow-up visits also ensure the band fits your baby and is functioning properly.
You’re not alone – there’s an extensive network of parents of DOC Band babies who have found ways to make the treatment process fun and engaging. Many parents will decorate their little ones’ DOC Band or take the opportunity with curious bystanders to educate them about plagiocephaly.
You can also join our online DOC Band Parent Support Group to chat with others who currently have or have had a baby in helmet therapy.
Research has shown if left untreated, a misshapen head can persist into adolescence and adulthood. Since the shape of the head is fully formed by age 2, cranial helmet therapy is no longer a viable treatment option beyond this point.
When deciding whether or not to move forward with the DOC Band, it’s important to consider some issues that may arise in later years without treatment:
Due to the increasing severity of head shapes today, our research has not shown self-correction in most cases. Remember that an external force was present to cause the deformity, therefore an external force must also be present to correct it. Once your baby is sitting up and moving about, the skull will continue to harden without any external force directing the head’s growth into a symmetrical shape.
For children less than 4 months old, supervised tummy time and repositioning techniques can sometimes be enough to correct an abnormal head shape.
Yes, twins (or multiples) can both be treated simultaneously. In fact, twins tend to have a higher risk of plagiocephaly due to restricted space in the womb.
The DOC Band is a medically necessary treatment, meaning that we only recommend treatment for babies who present with moderate to severe head shapes. Our free evaluations provide a detailed report of the baby’s head shape so that parents can make an informed decision about treatment.
It is ultimately up to the parent(s) to decide the best course of action for their child.
Yes, a prescription is necessary to begin treatment.
The DOC Band is a class II FDA regulated orthotic device therefore must be prescribed by a physician or other state approved medical provider. The type of provider who must prescribe the DOC Band may vary by insurance plan or state law.
Often, all it takes a simple request for a prescription. You can ask your doctor at your next appointment. Or, feel free to schedule a free evaluation at one of our clinics where we will provide you with a recommendation regarding whether to treat or not that you can share with your doctor.
Because of our relationships with many local pediatric offices, if our clinicians recommend treatment for your baby, we may be able to help you with the process of getting the prescription from your doctor.
Because the shape of the head is fully formed by age 2, cranial helmet therapy cannot be used to correct an abnormal head shape in adults.
The DOC Band typically weighs less than 6 ounces, which is roughly the weight of a baseball.
The design is ~32% lighter than similar devices and is easy on the baby’s neck muscles, so it doesn’t cause the head to tilt or impede muscle development.
No, the DOC Band is not used to treat craniosynostosis but doctors may refer patients to Cranial Technologies after completing surgery.
Craniosynostosis is the premature fusion of one or more bony plates in the skull, often resulting in restricted brain growth and an abnormal skull shape. The condition can be corrected with surgery followed by post-operative helmet therapy.
Since the band is custom-made to fit your baby’s head, adjusting to the band is usually a quick process, often in the matter of a day.
No, the DOC Band will not affect your baby’s personality or social development. It’s well reported that infants adapt easily to the DOC Band without issue.
Most parents are pleased with their baby’s head shape after one DOC Band and do not continue treatment with another. It is possible, though, given that the severity, complexity, age and growth of each case is unique, that you and your clinician may decide your baby would benefit from a second DOC Band to complete treatment.
Cranial Technologies believes each child is unique and, unlike some other providers, we do not have a one band guarantee. So, if your baby would benefit from a second band, Cranial Technologies will recommend it. In practice, we find that only about 15% of babies continue treatment with a second band.
No, your baby will not experience withdrawals from the band once treatment is complete.
Although the DOC Band can easily become part of a baby’s personality, especially with some creative decorating, children are resilient and adjust quickly.
The DSi system is designed specifically for the use of imaging infants' head shapes. The system uses 10 strategically placed digital cameras that capture a 3D image of your baby’s head in a fraction of a second.
Cranial Technologies was the first company to solve this complex problem, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued us three separate patents covering this technology.
Yes, DSi technology is 100% safe for your baby. Independent safety experts have confirmed that the DSi is similar to an ordinary camera flash and poses no harm to your baby.
Yes, you’ll stay with your baby during the imaging process. You’ll be there to observe as the clinician positions your baby and quickly captures the image of their head shape.
The stockinette is used to smooth down your baby’s hair and conform to shape of the head. This allows the for the cameras to capture a highly accurate picture of your baby’s “true” head shape which is critical to creating a DOC Band with a precise fit.
The DOC Band should be worn 23 hours per day to achieve optimal outcome and the shortest treatment time. The band can be removed for up to 1 hour for bathing and hygiene.
To achieve the best possible results for your baby, every person who provides care to your baby (mom, dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles, babysitters, daycare employees, etc.) should understand how important it is to follow all treatment protocols carefully and consistently.
This includes measures like:
Holes have been said to serve several purposes: To provide ventilation for the infant or to allow change to be seen through the helmet. Some orthotists use the holes to measure the depth between the helmet and the infant’s skull, to monitor change over time.
The DOC Band doesn’t have holes for several reasons:
The outer shell of your baby’s DOC band is a blank canvas waiting to be personalized. You can decorate it using paint, stickers and other “child-friendly” materials. See our Decorating Guide for more tips.
Our Cool Car Tips offer some tips to keep your little one cool during those warm summer months.
Our client specialist will call your insurance provider to determine what benefits are available. They will then contact you to go over that information. Coverage depends on each individual policy and each individual child. About 70% of all insurance providers have some type of coverage for the band. Some providers require that we get services approved prior to starting treatment. We will obtain any authorizations that might be required.
While we recognize the importance of acting quickly once you have decided to treat your baby, we are limited by the processes many insurance companies follow, which sometimes take 2-4 weeks. You can be assured that we will do everything we can to try to speed this along, but please recognize that we do not control this part of the process.
S1040-Cranial Remolding Orthosis is the one and only procedure code for the DOC Band (for Plagiocephaly and Craniosynostosis).
Could be any of the following depending on your specific insurance plan:
Due to individual insurance contracted rates and your specific policy benefits, we will be able to give a better quote of your estimated cost share once our Insurance Liaisons have verified your benefits after the free evaluation.
Prior authorization is a pre-service review that is required by your insurance policy. Insurance typically reviews for either medical necessity, benefit coverage, or both. If authorization is not submitted prior to treatment, your insurance plan can penalize or deny paying for treatment solely on this basis. Additionally, many cases require waiting for a final determination before beginning treatment.
A pre-determination is a voluntary pre-service review. Your insurance plan will not penalize you for not submitting the review, but it is offered to you due to the specific nature of the DOC Band treatment. Like a prior authorization, the review is for medical necessity, benefit coverage, or both.
Neither prior authorization or a pre-determination is a guarantee of payment from an insurance provider, even when approved.
We have 90+ treatment centers located throughout the United States.
To maintain the quality of our product, the expertise of our staff, and consistency of our treatment process, the DOC Band is only available at our clinics and satellite centers. We are, however, growing and always looking for new locations to offer our patients more convenient care.