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Plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome in infants, is an asymmetric or flattened shape of a baby's head caused by external force. It can occur pre-birth, as a result of the position in the womb, during birth, or after birth when the baby spends a significant amount of time on their back or sleeps on one side.

What is plagiocephaly?

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In most cases, these are mild aesthetic deformities, which are nonetheless mportant to address. 

When the head shape is determined to be moderately to severely affected, experts recommend cranial helmet therapy.


Does your little one have flat head syndrome?

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What does flat head syndrome look like?

Flat head syndrome is most noticeable when looking at the child's head from above. Some common signs of flat head shapes are:



  • The back of the head is flat on one side

  • The shape of the baby's head appears lopsided when viewed from above

  • The ears/ear canals are asymmetrical 

  • Facial features are asymmetrical



  • The shape of the baby's head is wider than normal

  • The back of the head is flat and without curvature

  • Facial features are out of proportion (eg. eyes seem too small for the face)



  • Long and narrow head shape from the vertical side.

  • The forehead and the back of the head protrude from the side.

kombinirana oblika glave


  • A combination of plagiocephaly and brachiocephaly traits

  • The head is wider and taller than normal 

  • The forehead is sloped

  • Ears and eyes are unaligned 

  • The shape of the head resembles a distorted trapezoid when viewed from above

Causes of plagiocephaly

Babies' heads are soft and therefore sensitive even to light and gentle external forces. These forces acting on the baby's skull can cause deformation, either in the womb or during the baby's daily routine.


  • Position in the womb: Babies who are stuck in one position in the womb are at risk of developing plagiocephaly. The breech position can lead to an abnormal head shape.

  • Tight environment in the womb: Plagiocephaly is common in twins.


  • Premature birth: Premature babies have a particularly soft skull, which makes them even more susceptible to misshaping. These babies often spend long periods of time in one position in hospital neonatal intensive care units.

  • During birth: Long labor, difficult labor, big baby, narrow pelvic canal.


  • Sleeping mostly on the back: Prolonged pressure on the back of the skull while sleeping on the back.

  • Prolonged sleeping on one side.

  • Restrictive devices: Prolonged sitting and unsuitable position in the baby carriage/seat.

  • Torticollis: Congenital muscular torticollis is a condition in which the neck muscles are abnormally tight on one side. This causes the baby's head to tilt to one side, even during sleep.

The impact of plagiocephaly on baby's brain development

Flat spots caused by pressure to the head usually have no negative or harmful effects on your baby's brain development.

However, other problems that may arise in adolescence and adulthood should be considered. Aesthetic irregularities can significantly affect the person and cause psychological problems.

  • Noticeable facial asymmetry and distorted head 

  • Glasses, helmets do not fit properly on the head

  • Visible flatness in short hairstyles

  • Jaw misalignment, which can affect breathing and can lead to obstructive sleep apnea

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