Little Man was born with a perfectly shaped head. There was no flatness.  When he was around 6 weeks old, my husband noticed a flat spot but I wasn’t too worried. At his two-month well baby visit, the pediatrician I saw (one of 5 in the group) said that he had mild plagiocephaly and torticollis. I’d never heard of either condition and promptly Googled when I was home.  It hit me like a ton of bricks and I was blaming myself for letting this happen.

The pediatrician said his head would “round out” as I increased tummy time and kept him off his back as much as possible. I also was told to take him to physical therapy for the torticollis and left it at that.  So I did. And his neck muscle got looser and stronger. But the flat spot on his head got worse—so bad that it looked like his neck flows right into his head. After asking around online, I did the evaluation on Cranial Technologies website and determined that Little Man had Brachycephaly.  At his 3 month well baby visit, I saw another doctor in the practice who recommended that I have him evaluated. That was scheduled for December 4, 2009.

At that evaluation, Dude and I were told that Little Man did, indeed, have brachycephaly and that his case was severe. I was shocked. I was thinking it would be moderate based on the photos on their site. But they do some kind of ratio (cephalic index — The ratio of the maximum width of the head to its maximum length, multiplied by 100) and Little Man’s was at 100%, which meant it was as wide and it is long.  And the the optimal CI is something like 80%.   They said a DOC band would correct most of his flatness. That not to expect perfection, but that we should see great results.

Little Man received his DOC Band on December 23rd.  I had the flexibility to take Little Man to his appointments but Dude only went to one adjustment. I don’t know if I can truly convey the emotions one has when your child has a “deformity” even if a correctable one. But it’s hard. Then you feel relief when something can be done. I initially thought my son would wear one DOC Band for a three month period.  But the reality is that when you helmet a 4-month-old who started out severe, you probably will need a second helmet (unless you have another helmet like a Starband or a Hanger Helmet) because  he will probably outgrow the helmet much sooner than 12 or 16 weeks, which is the maximum amount of time a baby can be in a DOC Band.

My son showed wonderful progress after 6 weeks but at that time, I was told he only had another 2 or 3 weeks remaining in that helmet. So I asked for a second evaluation and Photostudy.  After it was done, I made the decision to get a second DOC Band.  My husband and I paid for BOTH helmets completely out of pocket.  And while family did help us a bit with the first one, the second just went onto my Mastercard and I’m still paying for it. I figured, adding to debt was better than a lifetime of regrets. I wouldn’t have to wonder “what if” in regards to Little Man’s head shape.

So he wore the second DOC Band for a total of 8 weeks (and he outgrew the first one in 8 weeks) with an 11 day lapse between helmets. But his cephalic index went from 100% to 86% and unless you are very familiar with brachycephaly, I don’t think you would know my son had it. I guess technically still does. But his head looks normal and I’m at peace.

I know some people may stumble upon my blog from Babycenter or The Bump or even from just Googling “Brachycephaly” or “DOC Band” so I’m going to share on this page, in addition to my blog posts, Little Man’s measurements and his final photo study from Cranial Technologies.  I had an excellent experience with them and think that without the band, my son wouldn’t look as good as he does now.

Eval at 3.5 months (was banded 3 weeks later)

Cranial Width: 129   Cranial Length: 129   CI: 100   SD +5.3

Circumference (mm): 41.7

Measurements at 5.5 months (DSi for 2nd band was 1 week later)

Cranial Width: 130   Cranial Length: 141  CI: 92.2   SD +3.7

Circumference (mm): 43.2

Exit Eval. at 8.5 months (after 16 weeks in 2 bands)

Cranial Width: 130   Cranial Length: 151  CI:   SD +1.2

Circumference (mm): 45.3

9 Responses to “Brachycephaly”

  1. Jana Says:

    my son is a little over 4 months old and with my research on line i realize that he must have brachycephaly. we go to pediatrician on friday, dec. 3 and i am hoping he refers me to a specialist to check him out. please let me know what i should do

    1. sweetnjmom Says:

      Hi Jana,

      Here’s my opinion. It’s just mine and I’m no doctor or specialist. I’m just a mom, living in the suburbs, whose only child had the same thing. If you feel that your son has brachycephaly, I’d press your pediatrician for a referral and/or prescription for a cranial remolding orthotic. If you live near a Cranial Technologies, I’d go there for a free evaluation. Their website is http://www.cranialtech.com/ and you can see where they are located. If there isn’t one nearby, check out Orthomerica’s STARband. They have more locations. But the experience of the orthotist is key. Some pediatricians feel a baby’s head will “round out” on its own. I disagree. If caught SUPER early, before a baby can roll, perhaps so. But with brachy, it’s harder to correct. And unless craniosyntosis is suspected (premature fusion of the fontanelles), a specialist is not really needed. For more info on brachycephaly and plagiocephaly, I’d join the Yahoo support group: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Plagiocephaly/ Good luck!!!!

  2. Lynn Says:

    My son is 8 months old and his head still is not round. I keep him off of his back the whole time he is awake but he sleeps on his back. I started yesterday having him sleep on his side and I’m hoping this helps. I brought this up to my pediatrician at his 4 month and 6 month appointments and the doc said it would round out it still hasn’t. Do you know if it is too late to get his head to round out?

    1. sweetnjmom Says:

      Lynn, I honestly don’t know if your son’s head will round out. In MY opinion, I don’t think it will “round out.” At 8 months, if your son isn’t lying flat on his back and is sitting up and crawling (though my son didn’t crawl until 9 months), it probably won’t get flatter. But I honestly can’t say for sure if it will. If YOU are concerned about his head shape, I’d seek another opinion. If you live near a Cranial Technologies, you can get a free evaluation. Just ask yourself if you (and he) can live with how his head is for the rest of his life. There is only a short window of opportunity to use a helmet to reshape brachycephaly. I wish you the best and if you want more opinions, there are support groups on Babycenter’s website and Yahoo.

  3. Dana Alison Says:

    Came across this researching brachycephaly – thanks for sharing your story. You got great results by looking at the photos!

  4. Rose Says:

    My little man has been in his helmet for almost 8 weeks now. We’ve seen a lot of improvement but I still feel like we have a long way to go. The orthotist told us that he will likely be in it for five months total. He has torticollis too and that has gotten better too but not completely. I keep wondering what his end result will be and if he will look and feel normal after all this. We’ve also taken him to a chiropractor because I was concerned with his back. He’s 8 months today and the happiest baby ever! I just want to do everything I can.

    1. sweetnjmom Says:

      Rose, I’m sure your son will look great after! Mine has been out of his DOC Band for over 3 years now (will turn 4 this Summer) and his head looks great. You’d never know he had brachycephaly. Though I often think the reason he is left-handed is because he had right side Torticollis and the weakness on the right side. But that’s no biggie except when you try to buy a baseball glove. If you want to follow my current blog, it’s at http://momofoneanddone.blogspot.com/

  5. Christina Says:

    Thank you, this gives us so much hope! Our little guy is at 94 right now and we’re hoping for the best after this first band from CT.

    1. sweetnjmom Says:

      I hope you see great results, Christina. My son will be turning 7 year old in August and you’d never know he ever had Brachycephaly.

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