How often does plagiocephaly occur?
Sometimes known as “flat head syndrome,” plagiocephaly (pronounced play-jee-oh-sef-uh-lee) affects nearly one in two infants today (47%), with experts recommending that one in every ten babies be evaluated for treatment.
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 over 700 hours (roughly half of his or her life) on their back. In the last 20 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 that, 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 to five 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 time to treat plagiocephaly?
The DOC Band is a proven plagiocephaly treatment for babies ages 3 to 18 months of age. Because the DOC Band relies on natural brain growth—which is rapid during the first 6 months of life, steady from 6 to 18 months, then slows through 24 months of age—starting treatment early has been shown to reduce overall treatment time.
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 go 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 that, 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
- Poorly fitting eyeglasses
- Poorly 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 4 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?
- How will others view your child as a teenager? As an adult? What complications might that cause for your child as they go through school and then the work world?
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 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 3 and 18 months of age. Most treatment times are between 5 weeks and 4 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.
Am I able to fill out new patient paperwork before my initial visit?
Yes. You can download our new patient packet here.
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%-18% 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.
Cranial Technologies FAQs
How do I choose the right treatment provider?
Your child’s final outcome will depend on both the product and the treatment. At Cranial Technologies, we offer the best of both. While we hope you’ll visit us for a no-cost consultation at one of our treatment centers, below we’ve provided a list of questions we’d encourage you to ask wherever you go to seek treatment for your baby.
- What product does the clinic provide?
- How long has the clinic been using this product?
- Is the product FDA-cleared?
- What is the atmosphere of their facility? Is it clean? Friendly? Welcoming?
- Are they solely dedicated to plagiocephaly treatment?
- How many children has the clinic treated for plagiocephaly, scaphocephaly or brachycephaly?
- Do they provide photos or other documentation of the head shape to parents and their referring pediatrician?
- Do they have demonstrated outcomes for past patients?
- What are the credentials of the person providing the care?
- What kind of specialized training in plagiocephaly/abnormal head shapes does the provider have?
- What does the cost include?
Why is the DOC Band Cranial Technologies’ only product?
Cranial Technologies is committed to providing a safe, effective, high-quality product and the best possible treatment for each patient we see. We specialize in one area so that everyone on our staff, at every level, can focus on one product, become an expert, and help achieve the best possible outcome for your baby. Plagiocephaly treatment is not a division of our offerings—it’s always been our sole focus and passion.
Cranial Technologies DSi FAQs
What’s the difference between a DSi and a laser scan?
The DSi system was designed specifically for use with infants. The system uses 15 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 brain is constantly growing, so it’s important the DOC Band be worn at all times to direct the growth to the flattened areas. (It can be removed for up to 1 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.
What can I do to improve 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 within two days 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.
Why isn’t the DOC Band available everywhere?
In order to maintain the quality of our product, 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.