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Positional Plagiocephaly (Flattened Head)

When your baby's head has a flat spot

Positional (or deformational) plagiocephaly is when a baby's head has a flat spot or is misshapen due to repeated pressure to the same area of the head. Positional plagiocephaly is a fairly common and treatable condition.

Positional Plagiocephaly

Treatment for Positional Plagiocephaly

Treatment will be determined based on the age of your baby and the severity of his or her head shape distortion. Frequent rotation of your child's head would be the first recommendation. Alternating sleep and waking positions may also help prevent and treat positional plagiocephaly. Some cases do not require additional treatment and the condition may resolve spontaneously when the infant begins to sit.

Helmet therapy

If the deformity is moderate to severe and a trial of repositioning has failed, treatment may include cranial orthotic therapy (using a helmet to change the shape of the head).

Nonsurgical treatment

Unlike lambdoid synostosis, positional plagiocephaly is not caused by craniosynostosis (premature closure of one or more cranial sutures) and is not treated with surgery.

Types of plagiocephaly

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Boy and dad at Doernbecher

Ask the Experts

February 12, 7 p.m.

Help, my baby has a flat head! What does this mean?

Learn why some infants or babies have a flat head, and what can be done about it. Also find out more about what OHSU Doernbecher is doing to treat facial anomalies such as cleft lip, cleft palate and prematurely fused skulls. With OHSU's Anna Kuang, M.D., F.A.C.S.

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