There are a number of often repeated questions asked of clinicians about Cranial Technologies, the DOC Band, treatment, Digital Surface Imaging® and more. We support the efforts of all patient families to seek answers for all their questions as they make decisions regarding pursuing treatment with the DOC Band. We’ve done our best to answer these questions. In cases where you’re not able to find specific answers to questions, we encourage you to call (844) 447-5894 to speak with one of our trained patient liaison team members to obtain all your answers to make your overall experience with Cranial Technologies and the DOC Band exceptional.
How often does plagiocephaly occur?
The latest studies show that nearly one in two (47%) infants today have some degree of plagiocephaly, one in ten have a severe enough degree that experts would recommend treatment with a cranial orthotic.
Why aren’t flat heads seen in many adults?
The current adult population comes from a time when incidence of plagiocephaly was much lower, partly because infants were usually put to sleep on their stomachs, but also because car seats and convenience carriers weren’t used as often. Recent research studies have shown the average 2-month-old today has spent 700 hours (roughly half of his or her life) on their back. In the last 30 years, both the incidence and the severity of plagiocephaly have significantly increased.
Why do Pediatricians recommend having babies sleep on their backs if it causes more plagiocephaly?
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 half!
Will plagiocephaly impact my baby’s brain development?
While plagiocephaly won’t have any lasting harmful effects on your baby’s neurological development, it is possible if left untreated, the head will remain misshapen into adulthood.
How can I prevent plagiocephaly?
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. You can learn how to adopt these practices here. Limiting the use of convenience devices, such as car seats, infant carriers and swings, is also recommended.
My baby is older than two years old and has a flat spot. Is it too late to fix it?
Unfortunately, because the shape of the head is fully formed by age 2, cranial helmet therapy can no longer correct flattened areas.
Can the DOC Band® be used to treat craniosynostosis?
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. Doctors may refer patients to Cranial Technologies for treatment after surgery.
How do I know that my baby needs cranial helmet therapy?
The best way to find out if your baby needs a cranial helmet is to visit a Cranial Technologies clinic for a free evaluation.
When is the best age to start plagiocephaly treatment?
The DOC Band is a proven plagiocephaly treatment for babies ages three to 18 months of age. The DOC Band relies on natural brain growth—which is rapid during the first six 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 optimal time to begin treatment with a DOC Band is between four to six months of age.
Will people stare at my baby?
People may notice your baby’s helmet simply because they are curious—many DOC Band parents use this as an opportunity to educate others about plagiocephaly. In any case, we’re confident that the few months your baby spends in the band will pass quickly and be well worth the beautiful, rounded head shape they’ll enjoy for life!
What will happen if I don’t treat my baby’s plagiocephaly?
Research has shown if left untreated, a misshapen head can persist into adolescence and adulthood. Over the years, we’ve received a number of inquiries from parents seeking solutions for older children with untreated plagiocephaly. Unfortunately, because the shape of the head is fully formed by age two, cranial helmet therapy is no longer a viable treatment option.
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:
- Noticeable facial asymmetry
- Poor fitting eyeglasses
- Poor fitting safety equipment, including sports helmets
- Visible flat areas with short or cropped hairstyles
- Jaw misalignment resulting in a crossbite or underbite
- Low self-esteem and confidence
My pediatrician said my baby’s head will “round out” on its own. Is that true?
In children less than four months old, supervised tummy time and repositioning techniques can sometimes correct an abnormal head shape. However, due to the increasing severity of these shapes today, our research has not shown self-correction in most cases. Remember that an external force was present to cause the deformity, so it’s likely 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.
Do I have to get a DOC Band for my baby?
Ultimately, it is up to the parent to decide the best course of action for their child. When deciding whether or not to move forward with DOC Band treatment, you might consider:
- Will you be happy with your child’s head shape and facial features when your child is 5 years old? 10 years old? 20 years old?
- How might your child feel about having their current head shape for life?
Is a prescription necessary to begin DOC Band treatment?
Yes. While you do not need a prescription for the free evaluation, the DOC Band is regulated by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a medical device and does require a prescription.
How do I get my doctor to write a prescription?
Often, all it takes a simple request for a prescription. Just 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.
How much does a DOC Band weigh?
The DOC Band typically weighs less than six ounces, making it about 32% lighter than other similar devices. The lightweight design is easy on baby’s neck muscles, so it doesn’t cause the head to tilt or impede muscle development.
How long does it take to get a custom DOC Band made for my baby?
After a digital image of your child’s head is obtained using our sophisticated DSi® imaging system, the band will be fit within 7–14 days. This timeframe is critical as your infant’s head is growing each day.
Will my baby have trouble sleeping in the DOC Band?
Most babies adjust to the band quickly, usually in the matter of a day.
Does the DOC Band change my baby’s personality?
It’s well reported that infants adapt easily to the DOC Band, without any impact on their personality or social development.
What is treatment time?
How long treatment lasts will depend on your baby’s age and the severity of your baby’s condition. Starting treatment between the ages of four and six 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. Most treatment times are between five weeks and four months.
Why does treatment vary depending on the age of the child?
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 earlier treatment begins, the quicker the result can be achieved. The more severe the condition, regardless of age, the longer it will take to correct the shape of the head.
What ages do you treat?
We typically treat infants between the ages of 3 and 18 months.
How often are the follow-up visits?
Because your baby’s head is constantly growing, frequent adjustments are required. Typically, we will adjust your baby’s DOC Band every week or every other week, depending on your baby’s growth rate.
Why do I have to come back for follow-up visits?
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.
Will my baby need more than one DOC Band?
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.
Can you treat adults?
Unfortunately, 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.
What’s the difference between a DSi and a laser scan?
The DSi system is designed specifically for the use of imaging infants head shapes. The system uses 10 strategically placed digital cameras to instantaneously capture a 3D image of your baby’s head. The image is taken so quickly (0.005 seconds) that your baby can actually be moving during the process. 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.
Does the DSi process pose any harm to my child?
Independent safety experts have confirmed that the DSi is similar to an ordinary camera flash and poses no harm to your baby.
Can I stay with my child for the DSi process?
Absolutely. You’ll be there to observe as the clinician positions your baby and quickly captures the image of their head shape.
Why does my child need to wear a stockinette during the DSi?
Capturing your baby’s “true” head shape is critical to creating a precisely fit DOC Band. The stockinette is used to smooth down your baby’s hair and conform to shape of the head.
Current Patient FAQs
Why does the baby have to wear the band 23 hours per day?
The DOC Band should be worn 23 hours a day to achieve optimal outcome within the shortest treatment time. The band can be removed for up to one hour for bathing and hygiene. At the fit appointment, your clinician will go over all the instructions for proper wear and care of the band.
How can I improve the results?
In order 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 carefully and consistently follow all treatment protocols. The DOC Band should be worn 23 hours a day, all growth adjustment appointments should be attended, and if needed, your baby’s neck muscles should be stretched and exercised daily.
Why do some cranial remolding devices have holes in them?
Holes have been said to serve a number of 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. First, holes drilled into the device can compromise the device’s structural integrity, much like the perforations in a sheet of paper. Second, depending upon the location, the holes can trap fluids and cause swelling. Lastly, we’ve found there are better ways to assess progress than peering through holes.
Will my child experience withdrawal from the DOC Band?
No. Although the DOC Band can easily become part of a baby’s personality, especially with some creative decorating, children are resilient and adjust quickly. It may take a few days for your baby to get used to having a “naked” head or to realize that they aren’t as protected when they fall.
How do I decorate my DOC Band?
The outer shell of your baby’s DOC band is a blank canvas waiting to be personalized. Your can decorate it using paint, stickers and other “child-friendly” materials. See our Decorating Guide for more tips.
What tips do you have for keeping my DOC Band baby cool during the summer?
Our Cool Car Tips flyer offers some tips to keep your little one cool during those warm summer months.
Will my insurance pay for the band?
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.
What is the procedure code that you use to submit to my insurance?
S1040-Cranial Remolding Orthosis is the one and only procedure code for the DOC Band (for Plagiocephaly and Craniosynostosis).
What is my baby’s diagnosis code?
Q67.3-Plagiocephaly is the most commonly used diagnosis code. It encompasses babies with both plagiocephaly and brachycephaly diagnosis.
Q75.0-This would only be used post-operatively following surgical correction of Craniosynostosis.
What type of service does this relate to for insurance? (could be any of the following depending on your specific insurance plan)
- All other types of services
What is the cost of the DOC Band treatment?
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.
Do we need a prescription for the DOC Band 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.
What is the difference between Prior Authorization and Pre-Determination?
- 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 a prior authorization or a pre-determination is a guarantee of payment from an insurance provider, even when approved.
Why isn’t the DOC Band available everywhere?
In order 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.