What is plagiocephaly? (pronounced play-jee-oh-sef-uh-lee)
The terms “plagiocephaly” and “brachycephaly” are sometimes referred to as “flat head syndrome”. Nearly one in two infants today (47%) are affected, with experts recommending that one in every ten babies be evaluated for treatment.
Plagiocephaly is characterised by a flat spot on the side of the head, while brachycephaly is a flattening on the back of the head. For a detailed explanation, please visit the Royal Childrens Hospital site here.
The cause of the flattening is multifactorial. Babies all have very soft skulls, especially within the first four months of life. Pressure applied from sleeping in the same position, or a tightening of the neck muscles that pulls the head in the same direction whilst your baby sleeps can both contribute to the flattening.
Neither condition will affect your baby’s brain growth or development in any way, as both plagiocephaly and brachycephaly are cosmetic in nature. The important thing is that you seek appropriate advice from a health professional.
Does my baby actually need a helmet?
This is a common question among our parent community.
In practice, a high percentage of babies only require positioning advice from a clinician once the head assessment has taken place. The process begins with a structured-light scan of your baby’s head, and then the clinician will use this data with an internationally recognised scale to determine the next best steps. This may involve positioning advice, another scan to track your baby’s growth or a helmet.
If a Serkel helmet is recommended and treatment begins, the clinician can track your baby’s progress by re-scanning every 3-4 weeks.
How does a Serkel work to help plagiocephaly?
A Serkel® helmet is a non-invasive treatment and works by applying a gentle pressure over the prominent areas of your baby’s skull, whilst leaving room in the helmet for the flat areas to grow. Essentially, we are redirecting your babies natural head growth to gently round your baby’s head.
Do I bring my baby to the Serkel office or a clinic?
Please take your baby to the suggested specialist health practitioner’s clinic, not to our offices. The specialist health practitioner’s clinics contain the consulting rooms and the specialist 3D scanning equipment to properly assess your baby.
Please use our form on this page to submit your details and we will respond with your local clinician’s details or ring us for more assistance.
Is a Serkel helmet comfortable for my baby?
Our Serkel® helmets have a 3D printed nylon shell, making it the lightest and slimmest helmet produced in Australia. The liner is made of soft cotton and foam, making it gentle on your baby’s skin, as well as breathable.
The Serkel helmet has been developed with optimum comfort in mind, and this allows your baby to wear their helmet for 23 hours a day, so we are able to capture and direct the maximum amount of head growth.
For advice, treatment options and locations of Serkel® clinicians, or enquiries in relation to orthotic contract manufacturing solutions, please reach out to us.