Occipital plagiocephaly

Occipital plagiocephaly is a type of plagiocephaly. It is used to describe the shape of the skull which is a result of an early fusion of the lambdoid suture. The premature fusion may occur either on one side or both sides of the suture.

It is one of the rarest craniosynostosis, accounting for ~3% of cases.

The side which is involved appears flattened when it is viewed from above. Most often a bump is seen behind the ear on the ipsilateral side or the ipsilateral ear might be pulled backwards. However, if the ear is forward on the flat side (with respect to the opposite ear), and there is no reduction in skull height on the affected side, then a skull deformation should be suspected instead of a fused suture. It is critically important to determine whether or not a child truly has a fused suture because skull deformations almost never need to be surgically treated.

The Towne view is often used for evaluation. However, x-ray might at times give a deceptive appearance of a fused suture.

Ideally, a CT should be performed for the same. Findings typically include:

  • absence of suture
  • flattening over synostosed suture
  • mastoid overgrowth resulting in bulge behind involved ear
  • temporoparietal bossing on opposite side

Surgical management of lambdoid synostosis involves restructuring the posterior fossa to provide adequate space for normal brain development as well as restoring normal symmetry.

Share article

Article information

rID: 30439
System: Head & Neck
Section: Pathology
Tags: refs, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Posterior plagiocephaly
  • Lambdoid synostosis

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Drag
    Case 1: unilateral occipital plagiocephaly
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.
    Loadinganimation

    Alert accept

    Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

    Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.