Treatment of Plagiocephaly With Helmet Molding Therapy: Do Actual Results Mimic Perception?

The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal (Impact Factor: 1.2). 03/2011; 48(2):205-9. DOI: 10.1597/09-209
Source: PubMed


Purpose: Actual and perceived improvements from helmet molding therapy for deformational plagiocephaly are demonstrated here. Effective communication of these data by craniofacial teams can help avoid unrealistic expectations and inform parents of expected outcomes. Methods: Parents of 61 patients with plagiocephaly were asked to rate their children's head shape and ear position before and after helmet therapy (a score of 1 being abnormal and 10 being normal). Topographic laser head scans for an aged-matched cohort of 91 patients with deformational plagiocephaly were acquired. Cephalic ratio, overall symmetry ratio, radial symmetry index, ear offset, and left and right oblique were recorded before and after molding. The cranial vault asymmetry index (CVSI) score was calculated. Results: Parent ratings before and after molding, respectively, were head shape 2.99 ± 1.50 (mean ± SD) versus 7.88 ± 1.64 (p < .0001) and ear position 3.75 ± 2.5 versus 7.73 ± 2.34 (p < 0.0001). Measurements before and after molding were cephalic ratio 0.89 ± 0.07 versus 0.87 ± 0.08 (p < .0001), overall symmetry index 0.87 ± 0.05 versus 0.90 ± 0.04 (p < .0001), radial symmetry index 59.9 ± 26.9 mm versus 46.3 ± 25.1 mm (p < .0001), CVSI 7.2 ± 3.75 versus 4.8 ± 2.8 (p < .0001), and ear offset 5.7 versus 5.5 mm (p  =  .58). Conclusions: Helmet molding produces reproducible changes in head shape. Despite relatively small actual changes on topographic laser imaging, parents perceive a large correction in head shape and ear position following helmet molding. Craniofacial teams can use these data and head scans before helmet molding to provide parents with realistic expectations for the outcome of their child's helmet molding therapy.

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    • "Ear shift is one of the major cosmetic concerns in moderate to severe DP [33]. However, there are only a couple of reports in the literature investigating this phenomenon [24,34], and these provide conflicting results. Kluba et al. [24] reported that helmet therapy improves ear shift in patients who demonstrate this problem prior to treatment, but not in those who did not have this problem prior to treatment. "
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    ABSTRACT: To compare effectiveness on correcting cranial and ear asymmetry between helmet therapy and counter positioning for deformational plagiocephaly (DP). Retrospective data of children diagnosed with DP who visited our clinic from November 2010 to October 2012 were reviewed. Subjects ≤10 months of age who showed ≥10 mm of diagonal difference were included for analysis. For DP treatment, information on both helmet therapy and counter positioning was given and either of the two was chosen by each family. Head circumference, cranial asymmetry measurements including diagonal difference, cranial vault asymmetry index, radial symmetry index, and ear shift were obtained by 3-dimensional head-surface laser scan at the time of initiation and termination of therapy. Twenty-seven subjects were included: 21 had helmet therapy and 6 underwent counter positioning. There was no significant difference of baseline characteristics, head circumferences and cranial asymmetry measurements at the initiation of therapy. The mean duration of therapy was 4.30±1.27 months in the helmet therapy group and 4.08±0.95 months in the counter positioning group (p=0.770). While cranial asymmetry measurements improved in both groups, significantly more improvement was observed with helmet therapy. There was no significant difference of the head circumference growth between the two groups at the end of therapy. Helmet therapy resulted in more favorable outcomes in correcting cranial and ear asymmetry than counter positioning on moderate to severe DP without compromising head growth.
    Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine 12/2013; 37(6):785-95. DOI:10.5535/arm.2013.37.6.785
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    ABSTRACT: Helmet therapy is widely accepted in the treatment of severe positional plagiocephaly. The improvement of the cranial asymmetry under therapy is evident, but parents are also concerned about the ear shift. Our study investigated the influence of helmet therapy on the position of the ears and analyzed the reliability of clinical observations regarding cranial asymmetry and ear shift. Three-dimensional stereophotogrammetry of 80 infants with severe positional plagiocephaly was performed before and after helmet therapy. The cranial vault asymmetry index (CVAI) and ear shift were measured and statistically compared. The correlation between the change of CVAI and ear shift was investigated. Three surgeons visually evaluated the treatment results on three-dimensional images independently with a standard questionnaire. The results were compared with the three-dimensional measurements. Sixty infants had a relevant initial ear shift. Under therapy, the shift was improved significantly by a mean of 29.8% (P < 0.001). Twenty infants with an initial straight ear line statistically deteriorate under therapy (P < 0.0001). We found no strong linear correlation between the changes of the CVAI and the ear shift. Analysis of the questionnaire revealed a good correlation between the clinical impression and three-dimensional measurements for the head asymmetry, whereas observations regarding changes in the ear shift were not reliable. Helmet treatment significantly improves an initial malposition of the external ear in infants with positional plagiocephaly. A severe ear shift can be associated with a moderate CVAI and vice versa. In contrast to the CVAI, small changes of the ear shift cannot be evaluated reliably by clinical investigation.
    The Journal of craniofacial surgery 09/2012; 23(5):1301-5. DOI:10.1097/SCS.0b013e31825653fa · 0.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Helmet therapy is regularly prescribed in infants with positional skull deformation. Evidence on the effectiveness is lacking, which complicates decision making. This study aims to assess the relation between parents' decision for treatment of skull deformation in their infant and their level of anxiety, decisional conflict, expectations of treatment effect, perceived severity of deformation and perceived side effects. Parents of 5-month-old infants with skull deformation were invited to participate in a survey. Data collection included background characteristics, anthropometric assessment, parent-reported outcomes, decision for treatment (helmet therapy or awaiting natural course), decisional conflict scale and questions about perceived (side) effects of helmet therapy. Factors significantly correlated with treatment decision (p < 0.1) were tested in a multiple logistic regression analysis. The results of 186 respondents were included in the analysis. Parental satisfaction with their infant's head shape (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.2; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.1 to 0.4), expected effect of helmet therapy compared to natural course (aOR 13.4; 95 % CI 5.0 to 36.1) and decision uncertainty (aOR 1.0; 95 % CI 0.9 to 1.0; p = .03) were related to the decision for helmet therapy in infants with skull deformation. With the outcomes of this study, we can better understand parental decision-making for elective 'normalizing' treatments in children, such as helmet therapy in infants with skull deformation. Health care professionals should address the parents' perception of the severity of skull deformation and their expectations of helmet therapy. Furthermore, they can support parents in decision-making by balancing medical information with parents' expectations, values and beliefs.
    Child s Nervous System 03/2014; 30(7). DOI:10.1007/s00381-014-2399-2 · 1.11 Impact Factor