Cranial Technology For Infants With Plagiocephaly


Cranial Technologies provides evaluations, insurance reviews, digital surface imaging services, DOC Band creation, fit appointments, and growth adjustment appointments for infants diagnosed with plagiocephaly. Individualized DOC bands help restructure the skull by applying pressure in specific locations while permitting unimpeded growth elsewhere.

Parents often worry that cranial orthosis treatment will adversely affect mental growth or their baby’s discomfort, but research and clinical investigations have disproved such fears.

Treatment Options

Your baby’s health care provider may suggest cranial remodeling band or helmet therapy for moderate to severe cases of plagiocephaly without synostosis (an asymmetric flattening on the back of the skull), such as when your infant experiences plagiocephaly without synostosis (an asymmetric flattening on the back of their skull). These custom-made and fitted devices, such as the DOC BAND(r) and Gillette Children’s Craniocap, are specifically tailored to guide head growth towards a more normal shape actively; typically worn 23 hours daily, with 1 hour off for exercise and skin care; treatment usually lasts 4.5 months on average.

Mild cases of positional plagiocephaly usually do not require medical intervention, as its asymmetric flattening usually resolves itself as your child sits up or begins crawling. However, if the deformity persists or worsens beyond repositioning alone, a pediatric neurologist, neurosurgeon, or specialist in craniofacial disorders may advise cranial molding therapy to address it.

Researchers conducted a recent study assessing the efficacy of cranial molding therapy on infants with moderate to severe deformational plagiocephaly. Their researchers discovered that using a cranial remodeling helmet was equally as effective as participating in physiotherapy programs that involved massage and manipulation of the head to reduce the severity of asymmetry, with both groups showing improvements in Brunet-Lezine score and Cranial Vault Asymmetry Index (CVAI).

Surgery is usually the only viable way for children with craniosynostosis to correct their misshapen skulls. It may involve opening the sutures that hold it together and permitting the natural perpendicular growth of their heads. Surgical correction may take the form of endoscopic or open surgery procedures and may even require multiple operations to resolve.

CDC reports that more than 90% of infants with sagittal synostosis, the most prevalent form of craniosynostosis, are treated surgically. The type of surgery typically depends upon whether there is an underlying genetic syndrome such as Apert, Crouzon, or Pfeiffer that must be addressed before any treatments are undertaken.

Before considering surgery, the CDC advises parents to explore more conservative treatment methods like positioning or physical therapy and cranial remodeling bands for deformational and positional plagiocephaly. They further encourage seeking medical advice from an orthodontist board certified in cleft palate disorders, including deformational plagiocephaly. They have the expertise required for deforming facial features and deformities of the skull, such as deformational plagiocephaly.

Insurance Coverage

How insurance covers cranial orthotic treatment can be an essential consideration for parents. Thankfully, most policies cover the cost of these devices. Cranial helmets fall under Durable Medical Equipment (DME) classification and billing code S1040. Some insurance providers may also request a letter from your child’s pediatrician detailing that the deformity is moderate-to-severe enough that untreated will affect his or her quality of life and necessitate medical intervention.

The DOC Band is an FDA-cleared medical device that treats positional plagiocephaly in infants. Utilizing proprietary, patented technology that captures infants’ natural head growth patterns, this non-invasive alternative to surgery offers non-invasive relief without an anesthesia injection or incisions. The company’s products can be found in licensed treatment centers throughout North America and Europe.

Since BPOC’s investment, the team has focused on building infrastructure to expedite new clinic openings quickly, such as site selection and payor contracting. Furthermore, they developed best practices and enhanced compliance protocols across locations to ensure clinical efficacy and safety across areas, ultimately increasing new clinic openings from three per year before BPOC’s involvement to over 16 per year now.

BPOC helped facilitate expansion across all regions by hiring a new CEO and senior management positions, investing in new manufacturing capabilities such as 3D printing, as well as expanding marketing and sales resources to drive an increased range of physician referrals.

Cranial Technologies is one of the nation’s premier providers of positional plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) helmet treatment, with 80 locations throughout the US and six licensed international locations. Their DOC Band treatment has been FDA-cleared as medically proven for this condition affecting nearly 50% of babies born worldwide.

Cranial Technologies was established in 1986 and has treated over 300,000 babies with its FDA-approved DOC Band since then. Their services include evaluations, insurance reviews, digital surface imaging, and cranial band creation/fit/growth adjustment appointments. Furthermore, they offer comprehensive benefits packages to their employees, including health, dental, vision, life, and short-term disability coverage, as well as 401k contributions, paid time off accruals (3.5 weeks paid time off annually), and seven company holidays, paid.

Treatment Time

When it comes to cranial helmet therapy, early identification and treatment of deformities is optimal. Addressing an asymmetry sooner increases its chance of spontaneous resolution or correction via orthosis cranium brace or braces. A cranial helmet should ideally be considered when children are between 3 to 6 months of age, but many infants can be treated later.

Researchers examined 48 infants with cranial asymmetry who received helmet treatment and discovered significant improvements on the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) plagiocephaly severity scale. CVAI measures differences in short diagonal diameters of the skull; severity levels ranged from mild (requiring only repositioning), moderate ( requiring both re-positioning and molding), to severe conditions requiring reshaping with a helmet).

The study also demonstrated that CVAI scores dropped significantly for infants receiving helmet treatment and physiotherapy combined than those receiving only PT alone. Furthermore, infants receiving both treatments experienced even further reduced asymmetry levels than those receiving just PT alone.

Note that this study only focused on those with one side flat head as the authors discovered that other conditions like torticollis or prematurity could impede helmet therapy’s success. Therefore, all patients should be evaluated by an experienced craniofacial surgeon to find out which treatment approach will provide optimal outcomes.

Hanger Clinic has an expert network of Cranial Asymmetry Remolding Experts who can assess and treat your baby’s needs. Their treatments consider the developmental milestones your child is reaching and any distinctive shapes of their head to deliver optimal results. Typically appointments will be scheduled every 2-4 weeks for follow-up visits and mid-treatment scans at both midpoint and endpoint of treatment.

Wear Time

Cranial technology may relieve babies diagnosed with brachycephaly or plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome). Helmets and bands designed to apply gentle pressure to your infant’s head can put gentle pressure on it to redirect its shape; treatment typically begins between 4 to 6 months of age and lasts three to five months, during which time helmets or bands will typically be worn 15-22 hours each day. For skincare and hygiene reasons, the child will spend one hour without them daily.

If the deformity is severe, surgery may be required to correct its shape. This procedure typically entails either extracting or reshaping a bone to correct the vault shape; in more complex cases of brachycephaly and plagiocephaly, it may involve removing soft tissues such as cartilage as well as inserting dissolvable plates and screws into soft tissue pockets beneath. Once the bone has been reshaped, postoperative helmets no longer must be worn post-op.

For moderate to severe flatness, a specialized helmet may gently redirect the growth of your child’s head and relieve symptoms associated with plagiocephaly and brachycephaly. This treatment method, known as positional molding therapy, was the first device approved by FDA specifically for this use; its safety and effectiveness have made this an industry standard tool used by over 80 locations globally for over 300k infants suffering from plagiocephaly/brachycephaly.

Only the DOC band has received FDA clearance as an FDA-cleared positional molding therapy product to treat brachycephaly and plagiocephaly. Other cranial orthotic products may also be available that a pediatrician can recommend after performing an accurate diagnosis and documentation of their condition.

The DOC band is custom-tailored to your baby. A head scan is taken at one of our clinics and sent directly to our design center for fabrication using a multi-step process. Once manufactured, your child will wear their new device until returning to us for instructions regarding break-in time, wear schedule, and cleaning schedules.