Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Diagnosis

The visit with the specialist yesterday went better than we expected. Savannah has a mild case of plagiocephaly. We are lucky that it is only minor and that she does not have any facial assymetry (in layman's terms, her eyes and ears are not uneven.) We have chosen to treat her with one of these to help round out her head. It's like braces for her head. She will have to wear it for about 2.5 months and 23 hours a day. Everything I have read about children and these helmets says that the kids adjust very easily to the helmet and quickly forget that it is there. It generally is harder for the parents.

We are very lucky also that she does not have other problems associated with this condition, such as torticollis or craniosyntosis. Plagio is caused mainly by babies sleeping on their backs, as well as by cramped conditions in the uterus. Since the Back to Sleep campaign began the number of cases of plagio has increased significantly. It is still a good program, but there are things that can be done to help prevent such problems. Some of these include rotating your child in the crib so that he/she faces a different direction each night so that they are not always looking to the same side. Making sure that you spend lots of time (supervised of course) with your baby on his/her tummy is another good way to help prevent this as well. There does seem to be a learning curve for the medical community on this condition and how to treat it early. Many people think that the baby's head will round out on it's own when they start spending more time off their back (i.e. when they learn to sit, etc.), but that doesn't necessarily seem to be the case. Early detection and treatment is the best course of action I think.

We look forward to getting The Girl treated and getting it all over with so she can continue being her perfect little self. We go tomorrow to get pictures taken and will have to wait to get her fitted for her helmet until Insurance approves (God willing).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your post is becoming very familiar. One in eight babies (and 56% of twins!) is effected by noticeable sleep-related skull flattening as a result of sleeping in the pediatrician-preferred "Back to Sleep" posture.

A cranio-facial surgeon in South Florida whose practice has become inundated with these cases has invented an FDA-appproved infant mattress called NightForm that is very excellent at preventing flattening in the 0-4 months span, after which babies are usually free of risk.

As you pointed out in your post, fixing flattened skulls can be stressful, costly, heart-breaking. But preventing it is very easy and convenient.