Plagiocephaly – what is it?

Plagiocephaly - Bobby Gen-in

Plagiocephaly – Bobby Gen-in

Here is Bobby, our own 5 month old little Mercedes Gen In’er, he suffers from Plagiocephaly.  This is a common condition characterised by an asymmetrical distortion (flattening of one side) of the skull. It is characterised by a flat spot on the back or one side of the head caused by remaining or lying in a single or preferred position. (usually whilst sleeping). The incidence of Plagiocephaly (flattening of the head) has increased since raised awareness and recommendations for parents to lay their babies on their backs whilst sleeping as a preventative measure reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Treatments range from simple repositioning of babies below the age of 5 months to more involved treatment with a helmet for children under the age of 18 months. Bobby had some flatteningIMG_1103 of the skull from birth, his condition worsened over four months and his head shape became a concern.  Helmet correction of Plagiocephaly in infants in the UK is not supported by the NHS, so we decided to get private treatment for our child.

I am writing this short article to raise awareness of this condition with Gen-In readers and hopefully get people to at least recognise the condition early on, referring their babies to their GP/Health Visitor if they detect any unusual head shape changes.

If you see or begin to recognise any flattening of the head in your infant, please go and see your GP or health visitor as soon as possible and discuss methods to reduce this condition before it worsens to the point of our Bobby, who’s head scan can be seen on the right illustrating the problem. (this is a top view looking down, his nose and brow can be seen indicated toward the top of the image)  We hope that over the next six months that Bobby’s skull shape will be corrected by at least 50% although we hope for more.

Thanks for reading this.


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2 thoughts on “Plagiocephaly – what is it?

  1. Hi Steve
    I’d like to start this by saying what a superb website you have here.
    Having been in the trade for 43 years, and struggling like many others on some of these newer vehicles, its so refreshing to read stuff that you’ve posted on here thats free and available to all. From experience, a lot of people in the motor trade seem to want to keep everything close to their chests, and then charge a fortune for their advise.
    Maybe this why I’ll never be a wealthy tech ! Just can’t help but assist everyone as it makes me very happy. I’m almost certain that is how you feel too judging by the way you handle this site.
    Once again…..Thanks and well done.
    On another note, how sad to see your ‘little man’ being affected by this condition. I have so much admiration for any parent with children who aren’t as lucky as most. My younger sister was born deaf, and growing up with her some 30 years ago, when hearing aids and care was nothing like today, I can honestly say it was a difficult time as I was the main carer for both sisters back then.
    Can you please let me know if there is a fund source that I might contribute to that may be able to help out in a small way? I can’t afford very much, but I’d very much like to help if thats possible.
    I was on here today looking for some advise ref a sprinter ‘loss of power’ issue. I’ve now seen what you put on here ref the actuator and boost sensor. I’m actually gonna go in tomorrow and carry out the tests just to satisfy myself.
    Best wishes to you and your family Steve.
    All the very best
    Steve Miller (Wiltshires poorest, but happiest mechanic)

    1. Hi Steve,
      Great to hear from like minds.. I too will never be rich – but like you take my pleasure from helping people out!
      I could never be a car dealer as I would spend twice the value of the car making it ‘just-so’ for its new owner, and to satisfy my own high standards with a clear conscience.

      Bobby is growing up well now and is the youngest of three, the other two girls being 23 and 13 respectively. I think this will be our last 10 year cycle and Bobby will mark the last of the family. Its strange to think that I will have engaged on the school run for most of my working life, in fact into retirement… hey ho – keeps you young!

      The sad thing about the flattening of the head is that it is due in part to poor advice from our health service. They just generally advise the newborn sleeps on his/her back as a precautionary measure to reduce cot death, (fair do) but sadly the advice does not extend to cover repositioning and alternating sleeping positions. When soft skull flattening starts, the childs head naturally falls or rolls when sleeping to the flattest spot and it simply gets worse and worse.

      We were told that it was ‘natural development’ and one health professional commented that ‘it would be OK once his hair had grown’. It was this last advice that saw us taking professional private consultation to correct this problem before the skull naturally fused as Bobby developed. There is no treatment available on the NHS for this condition as they deem it ‘cosmetic’ only and the cost would be prohibitive to the cash-strapped service. Parents are on their own with this one and in so many cases just cannot afford the treatment.

      It’s about £2000 for the orthotic helmet, scans and 6 months consultation visits. Boy its worth it ! – Because we caught it early on, we were able to sort it out by correcting it to a 85 per cent reduction in deformation while the skull was still soft and flexible. Sadly those parents less fortunate, who maybe are not in a position to find the funding or even in the case of many younger parents that do not recognise the condition as treatable, borne of believing the single point advice given through GP and health visitors.

      I suppose as ‘older’ parents we knew what advice to heed and what to be a little suspicious of and we were in the fortunate position to be able to fund the treatment. We are so glad we did, as it is corrected to the point of: unless you were to be told, you would not notice the slight remaining uncorrected irregularity.

      Thank you for your kind offer of support for the condition, we really don’t know how we would have gone on in a situation where we knew what treatment we needed, but were unable to fund it.

      Just as importantly this UK charity was formed to support and raise awareness of the condition and does good work its well worth a read if you are interested, even if just to learn a little more of this condition that is more common than you may first think.

      Thanks again for the kind words Steve, keep reading and if you ever feel like adding some content with some pictures, just send it over to me and I will paste it up.

      All the best
      Steve Ball (Staffordshire’s poorest, but happiest mechanic)

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