Positional plagiocephaly

Last revised by Antonio Rodrigues de Aguiar Neto on 16 Jun 2019

Positional plagiocephaly, also known as deformational plagiocephaly, refers to a calvarial deformation that results from external pressure after birth when an infant is consistently placed in the same position for rest and sleep. It can be marked in very premature infants, whose heads become flattened and scaphocephalic when they are positioned on their side for mechanical ventilation. 

American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that neonates and infants be placed to sleep on their backs in order to decrease the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome. It is unsure if this may have lead to an increase in posterior positional plagiocephaly. Typical outward pressure from brain growth, most marked in the first two years of life, provides sufficient stimulus for remodeling once the child is old enough to roll from side to side or sit up, even with support.

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