Plagiocephaly (Flat head syndrome)

Plagiocephaly can occur in babies from lying down too much — it can be diagnosed and treated by our HCA UK consultants

What is plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) is a common condition, affecting around 1 in 5 babies.

Their head becomes flattened on one side, making it look assymetrical. This often occurs because they spend a lot of time lying on their back.

Your baby's consultant can diagnose them and offer a range of treatment options.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of plagiocephaly icon plus

    Symptoms for plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) are mainly visible, and your baby should not experience any pain. Therefore things to look for in their physical features can include:

    • their head appearing flattened on one side
    • misaligned ears
    • on the flatter side of your baby's head, there may be a slight bulge on their cheek or forehead

    Whilst the physical characteristics can seem a little worrying, in most cases there is no major cause for concern as the brain is not at risk.

  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your baby's consultant will discuss their symptoms with you and help to make a diagnosis. They will likely ask how regularly you lie your baby on their back, and how long ago you noticed any change in their head and/or facial appearance. In order to diagnose flat head syndrome, your baby's consultant will examine their head. If the visible symptoms are present, they can then suggest treatment options to you.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Your baby's consultant will discuss their treatment options with you and determine the best approach for them. These may include: - Providing you with a specially designed helmet or headband for them to wear. These are not common but can slowly help your baby's head shape itself more naturally - Physiotherapy if they have difficulty moving their head - Advise you on ways you can assist with your baby's movement, such as lying them on their tummy more frequently - In very few cases, corrective surgery may be an option. Rest assured, your baby's consultant would discuss this option with you in detail before any decision was made

Our paediatric consultants

We're proud to work with leading paediatric experts, who specialise in treating a range of disorders found in children, and whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion. 

Our locations

From complex general surgery for children to diagnostic tests, scans and minor procedures, we provide exceptional paediatric care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment with a paediatrician 

To request an appointment, call the paediatric unit on the number below. 

020 7390 8020
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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