Plagiocephaly


Little Man outgrew his DOC Band last Sunday and had his “graduation” at Cranial Technologies in Paramus, NJ on Friday April 30, 2010. He wore two helmets, each for 8 weeks, and his cephalic index went from 100% to 86%. That was from a +5.3 standard deviation to a 1.2! Amazing results. Here are the final photos.

Little Man was NOT happy. He’s 8.5 months old now and is going through stranger anxiety a bit late (or possibly separation anxiety?). In any event, he was SOBBING throughout all the photos and measurements, but I really wanted to know where he ended up. I think many plagio/brachy parents do.

He also had mild plagiocephaly on his left side, starting out with cranial vault asymmetry of 6mm.  When he finished, it was down to 2mm.  I barely notice anything any longer. And while his head isn’t at the “mean” it’s definitely normal looking.

For anyone contemplating banding your baby, I think Little Man is proof that it works.  He started at 4.25 months and finished at 8.5 months, with an 11 day lapse between helmets. I think it was worth every penny and if you are lucky enough to have health insurance that will pay for a cranial remolding orthotic, do not hesitate!

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Last Thursday, during Little Man’s final adjustment at Cranial Technologies, his clinician said that if the red marks on his forehead don’t go away during the hour break for cleaning (the helmet) and bath time, then I should just discontinue use.  Well, that happened. There were major marks on his head and his last day in DOC Band #1 was that night—February 18th.

His second DOC Band won’t be in until this Thursday, February 25th, so Little Man is enjoying a week off from his helmet.

I’m sad that he lost a week’s growth and I hope the weather forecast of snow holds off until AFTER his appointment on Thursday. I don’t want to lose any more time.  Little Man will be nearly 6.5 months old (6 months two weeks) when he gets the second band.  And while I want him to get as much out of it as possible, I hope he’ll only be in the helmet through April.  It would be nice for him to graduate before the warm weather.

And by going forward with a 2nd helmet, he’ll be wearing one during our vacation for my 40th birthday in April.  While most people have been kind and encouraging, I wonder how he’ll be received.  I hope in the same manner.  I guess the decorations help.  I’m not sure how I’m going to decorate this time. I’ll probably just get stickers this time, from Michael’s (does anyone know of any  other places to get stickers?) and use the Modge Podge to seal.  But I still feel that Coree at BlingYourBand does a great job and I’d buy a second design from her as well.

Not much else to report.  I’m sleep deprived again because I think more teeth are coming. The first two are out and there are 18 more to come. Wish me luck.

Being the assertive Aries that I am, I have convinced Dude to get Little Man a second helmet to get his head shape closer to the “mean”.  He has done amazingly well so far—his cephalic index (measurement of brachycephaly) went from 100% to 92.2% in only six weeks.  The mean is 78%.  I had Cranial Technologies do a 2nd photo study and take measurements last Thursday.  I’m not going to bore you with the other numbers, but I will say that his CVA (cranial vault index) also decreased from 6 mm to 4 mm.  That was the mild plagiocephaly he also has on his left side.

Here are the photos. Pics on the left were taken 3 weeks before he got his DOC Band (on 12/23/09).  Something spooked him, so he was SOBBING and, thus, looks so sad in the second set of photos.

While the financial burden is going to be hard to handle, I know I’m doing the best for Little Man.  Our future may include fantastic jobs and our situation can change. But there is only a short window of time to correct my baby’s head shape.

I should try to blog about something else, but getting my son’s head reshaped has been my main focus of late.

Instinct tells me that a) Little Man will need surgery on his scrotum for his Hydrocele and b) he’ll likely need a DOC Band (helmet) for his positional plagiocephaly.  I don’t know why, but that’s what my gut is telling me.

If he does need a helmet, I don’t think our insurance will cover it.  Though the place I’m taking Little Man for an assessment told me that they DO fight for patients’ and often they will cover at least some of the cost. I’m hoping that, since Little Man also has a diagnosis of Torticollis, that UHC will cover something.

If not… well, I’d rather get us further in debt than NOT correct something that is correctable due to my son’s young age (13 weeks tomorrow).

So I’m taking him to see a urologist and to Cranial Technologies for a free assessment in early December. He’ll be close to 4 months old by then, but I’m told babies under 6 months show the best results. I’d go sooner, but Dude wants to go with me and he won’t have a free day before then. But I don’t feel that it’s too much of a wait.