Abnormal head shape

There are many different descriptive terms for a wide variety of craniofacial problems. However, the most common deformity seen today is called plagiocephaly, literally ‘crooked head’. This is most often a deformational process perhaps caused by intra-uterine compression (before birth) and continued by laying a child on the same side after birth. It is therefore often called ‘deformational plagiocephaly’. This is generally a problem that can be corrected by changing the way the child is positioned during sleep. A moulding helmet may be helpful for some children. Deformational plagiocephaly can be distinguished from a less common form of ‘synostotic plagiocephaly’ by physical examination. Synostosis is caused by premature fusion of the sutures between the bones of the skull. Skull x-rays and CT scans may be required to differentiate synostotic from deformational plagiocephaly. The distinction is important, because synostosis requires surgical correction.