Nonsynostotic occipital plagiocephaly remains a diagnosis of concern in infancy. This study evaluates factors affecting the onset, treatment, and outcomes of nonsynostotic occipital plagiocephaly.
A retrospective chart review and telephone survey were performed. A posterior occipital deformation severity score was used. Factors such as demographics, behavioral and helmet therapy, feeding patterns, torticollis, multiple gestation pregnancies, prematurity, and congenital nonsynostotic occipital plagiocephaly were evaluated.
One hundred five infants were identified. Of these, 95 percent were Caucasian, 93 percent were from two-parent households, and 70 percent were from households earning more than $50,000. Repositioning was attempted in 95 percent, and 45 percent progressed to helmet therapy. When comparing change in posterior occipital deformation severity score with helmet therapy to repositioning, a difference was found (p < 0.05). Forty-nine percent of patients were breast-fed, and when compared with the general population, a difference was found (p < 0.05). Twenty percent of infants had torticollis, and when compared with population norms, a difference was found (p < 0.05). Twelve percent of patients were twins, and when compared with population norms, more twinning occurred (p < 0.05). Congenital nonsynostotic occipital plagiocephaly was found in 10 percent of patients and did not result in an increased risk of progression to helmet therapy.
This study demonstrates trends that may predict additional risks for developing nonsynostotic occipital plagiocephaly, including torticollis, plural births, and increased socioeconomic affluence. In addition, the nonsynostotic occipital plagiocephaly cohort was breast-fed less than the general population, demonstrating that breast-feeding may be preventative, as breast-fed infants are repositioned more frequently and sleep for shorter periods. As in other studies, cranial molding helmet therapy was more effective in correcting nonsynostotic occipital plagiocephaly than repositioning alone.