Diagnosis of plagiocephaly

For a father or mother, the diagnosis of plagiocephaly in their child is very important since it could have a direct impact on the health of the baby.

There may be a confusion between plagiocephaly , brachycephaly and scaphocephaly positional and cranial malformations called craniosynostosis, whose causes, characteristics and solutions are very different. Here you can see the types of cranial malformations that exist.

If you have doubts, you can compare these cranial deformities with the appearance of your son or daughter’s head. Bear in mind that no cranial deformity is the same and there are different degrees of severity and different compensations depending on the production mechanism and depending on the area that has received the mechanical pressure. If you think that your child’s head is not completely normal, you should consult an expert for a diagnosis of plagiocephaly , or whatever type of deformity you are suffering from.

How Plagiocephaly is Diagnosed

Parents of affected children usually know how to diagnose a cranial deformity just by looking at their child’s head. With any change, no matter how small, parents will notice it right away.

If you think that your child may have a problem with the formation of his skull, you will need to go to a specialist who will assess the child by diagnosing his head.

During the examination, the mobility of the neck muscles will be assessed and asymmetries in the face, neck, ears and cheekbones will be explored. It will be observed both from the front, from the side and from above to determine what type of cranial malformation the baby is suffering from.

In the case of diagnosing plagiocephaly , there is surely a flattening of the occipital region of the head. Currently, positional plagiocephaly is the most common cause of assistance in a pediatric neurosurgery consultation. There is no scientific evidence to show that positional plagiocephaly produces other alterations than those of cranial and/or facial deformation.

diagnosis plagiocephaly

More facts about Plagiocephaly

This phenomenon can be produced before or after birth. The main causes before birth are: prolonged fetal positions, multiple pregnancies, uterine anomalies, large fetuses, forceps or vacuum deliveries, etc.

The main causes after birth are: a position chosen by the baby without a clear reason, always supporting the head in the same way, systematic support of the head in the occipital region on one side or bilaterally, during sleep or in periods of wake.

Diagnosis of plagiocephaly it is fundamentally clinical, so in most cases a radiological study will not be necessary. Normally, the problem will be easily solved with positional treatment and in severe cases that have not improved with positional treatment, a cranial CT scan and three-dimensional reconstruction will be performed to ensure differential diagnosis with craniosynostosis.

Parents of children affected by plagiocephaly raise many doubts. Many times these cranial diseases are not diagnosed or are diagnosed late.

  • When they are diagnosed early, they are usually downplayed.

  • They are viewed as an “aesthetic” problem and not as what they are: a deformity.

  • Many parents want to treat them and their doctors advise against it.

  • Others, knowing the alternatives, hide valuable information on the subject from parents.


If you think that your child could be suffering from a cranial deformity, we recommend that you contact us so that we can make a proper diagnosis of your baby’s skull. Because your child’s health is the most important thing.

Here is a practical guide to help you assess if your baby’s head is misshapen.  If you have time, it is worth visiting our FAQ page.