|Classification and external resources|
Plagiocephaly also known as flat head syndrome, is a condition characterized by an asymmetrical distortion (flattening of one side) of the skull. It is characterized by a flat spot on the back or one side of the head caused by remaining in a supine position for too long.
Plagiocephaly is the word that is used to describe a diagonal asymmetry across the head shape. This word particularly describes a flattening which is to one side at the back of the head and there is often some facial asymmetry. Brachycephaly describes a very wide head shape with a flattening across the whole back of the head.
Slight Plagiocephaly is routinely diagnosed at birth and may be the result of a restrictive intrauterine environment giving a "diamond" shaped head when seen from above. If there is premature union of skull bones, this is more properly called craniosynostosis.
The incidence of plagiocephaly has increased dramatically since the advent of anti-Sudden Infant Death Syndrome recommendations for parents to keep their babies on their backs. Treatments range from a simple repositioning of babies below the age of 5 months to more involved treatment with a helmet for children under the age of 18 months.
Preliminary research indicates that babies with plagiocephaly tend to have learning difficulties later on in school, however these studies are still early, and do not yet represent a scientific consensus. Other more complete studies suggest that there is no evidence to suggest that plagiocephaly is harmful to brain development, vision, or hearing.
The condition will sometimes improve as the baby grows, but in many cases, treatment can significantly improve the shape of a baby’s head. Initially, treatment usually takes the form of reducing the pressure on the affected area through repositioning of the baby onto his or her abdomen for extended periods of time throughout the day. 
Other treatments include repositioning the child's head throughout the day so that the rounded side of the head is placed dependent against the mattress, repositioning cribs and other areas that infants spend time in so that they will have to look in a different direction to see their parents, or others in the room, repositioning mobiles and other toys for similar reasons, and avoiding extended time sleeping in car-seats (when not in a vehicle), bouncy seats, or other supine seating which is thought to exacerbate the problem. If the child appears to have discomfort or cries when they are repositioned, they may have a problem with the neck. If this is unsuccessful, treatment using a cranial remolding orthosis (baby helmet) can help to correct abnormal head shapes.
These helmets are used to treat deformational plagiocephaly, brachycephaly, scaphocephaly and other head shape deformities in infants 3–18 months of age. For years, infants have been successfully treated with cranial remolding orthoses.
A cranial remolding orthosis (helmet) provides painless total contact over the prominent areas of the skull and leaves voids over the flattened areas to provide a pathway for more symmetrical skull growth. Treatment generally takes 3–4 months, but varies depending on the infant's age and severity of the cranial asymmetry.
See also 
- Kadom, Nadja; Sze, Raymond W (2010). "Radiological Reasoning: A Child With Posterior Plagiocephaly". American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) 194 (3 supp.). doi:10.2214/AJR.07.7121. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- "Doctor Finds Success In Treating Infants With Flat-Head Syndrome". CBS Los Angeles. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- Laughlin, James; Luerssen, Thomas G. (2011). "Prevention and Management of Positional Skull Deformities in Infants". Pediatrics (American Academy of Pediatrics) 128 (6): 1236–1241. doi:10.1542/peds.2011-2220. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- "Plagiocephaly and Brachycephaly" Technology in Motion Plagiocephaly Clinic
- "Plagiocephaly and related cranial deformities" Pediatric Views, April 2010 available online from Children's Hospital Boston accessed May 14, 2010
- "Flat-headed babies may face learning problems". CBC News. December 3, 2010.
- "What is tummy time?". RSLSteeper.
- Persing J, James H, Swanson J, Kattwinkel J (July 2003). "Prevention and management of positional skull deformities in infants. American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine, Section on Plastic Surgery and Section on Neurological Surgery". Pediatrics 112 (1 Pt 1): 199–202. PMID 12837890.