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• Plagiocephaly and brachycephaly are skull deformations that occur in nearly half of all infants. These deformities are present at birth or can develop shortly after birth due to head positioning while lying supine. Depending on the severity of the deformity, infants may develop negative long-term developmental outcomes. There are generally two ways to treat such patients; repositioning or with use of orthotics (helmet therapy).

• A study of systematic reviews and cohort studies was completed to determine if orthotics (helmet) therapy is significantly more effective than repositioning therapy.

• The study indicated that infants diagnosed with moderate to severe plagiocephaly or brachycephaly will benefit most from helmet therapy in achieving complete correction, compared to those treated with repositioning therapy. Overall, there was a significantly greater mean percentage reduction of diagonal difference (61%) for the orthotic group than the mean percentage decrease for the repositioning group (52%).

• Positional skull deformations occur in nearly half of all infants today. It is important to be able to diagnose a skull deformation, determine the degree of deformation, determine options for treatment, compare those options for treatments, and the risks associated with the treatment options

• Primary care health care providers can reduce the long term effects of plagiocephaly or brachycephaly by properly identifying and treating patients in a timely manner.


Physician Assistant Studies

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

First Advisor

Jay Metzger

Publication Date



Craniosynostoses -- therapy; Plagiocephaly -- therapy; Comparative Study


Orthotics and Prosthetics

Helmet Therapy vs. Conservative Therapy for the Treatment of Positional Skull Deformations