Cranial malformations in babies, such as plagiocephaly, brachycephaly or scaphocephaly, are a deformation of the growing skull caused by mechanical pressure of some of its parts before, during or after childbirth.
Cranial deformities affect around 12% of babies. They usually occur in babies who have grown up in a restrictive uterine environment (multiple pregnancy, small pelvis, uterine fibroids,…), premature babies, babies who spend many hours in the same position (always sleep on their back). Children suffering from CMD (congenital muscular torticollis), who, due to a muscular shortening of the neck, have a tendency to always lean on the same side of the head, favoring the appearance of plagiocephaly.
The bones that form the vault and cranial base of the fetus, baby, and infant less than 3 months old are still poorly ossified and are separated from one another by sutures and fontanels.
If for any reason they receive excessive or continuous pressure, their normal growth is interfered with and deformations can be caused by the flattening of a part of the skull.
Cranial Index: A normal head is oval in shape when viewed from above and has a normal width-to-length ratio of 80%. This ratio allows us to quantify the degree of deformation of the baby’s skull.
The causes of cranial deformities can be due to the fact of remaining in the same position for long periods of time , however there are cases in which the baby is already born with this flattening of the skull due to a maternal pelvic narrowing. This occurs when, for example, there are multiple pregnancies.
We have mentioned the two main causes for which there may be a cranial deformity in the baby, however, there are other factors that can influence the risk of suffering from a cranial malformity.
Cranial deformities can be treated in different ways:
If you wish, in the following link you can find information on how to assess yourself if your baby has plagiocephaly , or another cranial deformity.
Skull deformities in adults are more difficult to fix. Surgery is usually the only possible solution to treat it. However, you can go to a specialist for a clinical evaluation.
In this post you can find more information about plagiocephaly in adults