What can be done to treat plagiocephaly? When is the best time to start?

The DOC Band® is the only custom cranial helmet supported by nearly 35 years of clinical results. It is proven to safely and effectively treat plagiocephaly by redirecting your baby’s natural head growth into a normal head shape. 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 up to 18 months of age.

Treating Plagiocephaly with the DOC Band:

DOC Band quick facts

  • The DOC Band is the first cranial orthotic to receive FDA clearance for the treatment of plagiocephaly.
  • The DOC Band has been used to treat approximately 175,000 babies with plagiocephaly.
  • Each DOC Band is custom manufactured and precision fit for every baby using our state-of-the-art technology.
  • The DOC Band is made from high-quality, hypoallergenic materials to ensure your baby’s safety and comfort.
  • The average DOC Band weighs less than six ounces, making it 32% lighter than other devices.
  • The DOC Band is designed for the utmost in comfort, so there’s little to no adjustment period for most babies.

See actual before and after photos of babies treated using the DOC Band or read about the experiences other families have had  with DOC Band therapy.

What is the treatment process like?

When your family chooses to work with Cranial Technologies, we’ll strive to begin your baby’s treatment as quickly as possible. Our treatment protocols are based on nearly 35 years of exceptional results, supported by experts who focus solely on plagiocephaly treatment. Here’s the typical process for a parent:

Step 1: Contact us!
Contact us using our online form and a member of our patient liaison team will be in touch soon to help you schedule a free head shape evaluation at the Cranial Technologies clinic nearest you. You can also call us at 1-844-447-5894 M-F 9:00am-6:30pm EST.

Step 2: Free evaluation appointment
Visit us for a free evaluation and, during your visit, one of our imaging specialists will use our sophisticated Digital Surface Imaging (DSi®) system to take a detailed 3D computer image of your baby’s head. A highly trained clinician will then evaluate your baby’s condition, determine if your baby is a candidate for DOC Band treatment or not, and provide the answers you need to decide what’s best for your baby. Best of all, we do this at no cost or obligation to you.

Step 3: Insurance review
We understand that insurance coverage and payment options can be big concerns for parents. Following your initial evaluation, if your baby is recommended for DOC Band treatment, our client specialist will contact your insurance provider to determine your available insurance benefits. They will then call you to go over that information.

While coverage varies for each policy and case, we find that 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, in which case, we will obtain any authorizations that might be required. In the event you do not have coverage, financing assistance through CareCredit is also available.

Step 4: Get a Prescription from your baby’s doctor
While you do not need a prescription for your free evaluation, the DOC Band is a medical device that requires a prescription. Oftentimes, all it takes is a simple request, though we do have relationships with many local pediatric offices and can help you with the process if needed.

Step 5: Precision imaging appointment 
Once you make the decision to treat your baby with the DOC Band, the next step is to have your baby’s head precisely imaged. This is important because the more accurate the image, the better the fit and, ultimately, the result. During your precision imaging appointment, we’ll capture a highly accurate 3D image of your baby’s head using our sophisticated, unique DSi imaging system. Our DSi is the only system in the world developed specifically for infants with plagiocephaly and we have received 5 patents on the technology. The images will then be used to create your baby’s custom DOC Band.

Step 6: Band creation
Your baby’s DOC Band will be custom made using our state-of-the-art technology and one-of-a-kind manufacturing process at our facility in Tempe, Arizona. The entire process is governed by an FDA-compliant quality system. Each band undergoes a rigorous 28-point quality inspection before leaving the facility.

Learn more about what makes the DOC Band different from other cranial helmets or view our before and after photo gallery of babies treated with the band.

Step 7: Custom fit appointment
In 7-14 days, your baby’s DOC Band will be ready for fitting. During this appointment, we’ll carefully check the fit, understanding that your baby may have grown since the images used to make the band were taken. If needed, we’ll further customize the band while you’re there. We’ll also discuss wear and care information, making sure all your questions are answered and you’re fully prepared to share this information with anyone else who cares for your baby (mom, dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles, babysitters, daycare employees, etc.).

Step 8: Progress and growth adjustment appointments
Depending on your baby’s age, we’ll monitor progress weekly or biweekly, making growth adjustments along the way.

Step 9: Graduation!
At your final appointment, we’ll take another 3D image of your baby’s head shape to show the improvement that’s been made over the course of treatment. For more details on the treatment process, download our Treatment Time Table .

Learn more about what you’ll experience as a patient at Cranial Technologies here.

 Why treat 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 2, cranial helmet therapy is no longer a viable treatment option.

“Hello, is it possible to fix a very flat head in a child of 7 years? We are already struggling to fit hats, helmets etc. and cannot cut his hair. Please help – any information would be helpful.  Thank you.” – Angela

“My Son is 6 years old – I noticed the flat spot on the back of his head, but now it looks very flat with a large hump at the end. Is it too late to correct the problem?”– Bobbie

“I have a three-year-old with plagio who was untreated and, as you can imagine, I have been just devastated by the fact that there is ‘nothing we can do’ at this point. I also have a nine-month-old little girl who is currently being treated with the DOC Band and we are seeing great results.”– Susan

When deciding whether or not to move forward with the DOC Band, consider that there is a limited window of time, up to about 18 months of age, in which plagiocephaly can be treated. Without treatment, some issues that may arise in later years are:

  • 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

A parent’s comment on course of plagiocephaly treatment with the DOC Band:

As an adult, correcting an abnormal head shape may be possible, but almost always requires an invasive surgical procedure. An implant may be used, for example, to improve flatness. Typically, such procedures are performed by a craniofacial or plastic surgeon.   

Actual patient CT scans

While plagiocephaly was initially thought by some doctors to raise only cosmetic concerns, many now recognize that there can be structural skull problems associated with the condition. Below are actual CT scans of an infant with with plagiocephaly (left) and an infant with brachycephaly (right).

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Structural skull abnormalities like the ones shown above can cause visibly misaligned ears, asymmetrical facial features, and a sloped or bulging forehead. Only the DOC Band is proven to correct these distortions. Take our at-home assessment  to see if your baby has developed any of these characteristics already.

Deciding what’s right for your baby

At Cranial Technologies, our clinical focus is to provide you with all the information you need to decide what’s best for your baby. Visit us for a free evaluation with one of our highly skilled clinicians and you’ll leave with a better understanding of your baby’s situation, including a recommendation to treat with the DOC Band or not, and a detailed report to discuss with your pediatrician.

Learn more about what to expect  during your first visit to Cranial Technologies or click to schedule a free evaluation at the clinic nearest you.