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Plagiocephaly ( Flat-Head Syndrome )

 

New Parents’ Insurance Nightmare:  Alarming Rise in Babies with Flat-Head Syndrome 

Although there is a dramatic increase in the number of newborns suffering so-called “flat-head syndrome”, parents are finding that few 

insurance plans cover the thousands of dollars it costs for remedial treatments such as helmets to re-shape a baby’s head.   

And, even after paying thousands of dollars for un-covered medical treatments, the remedial treatments for flat-head syndrome are seldom a 100 percent cure for the deformity medically known as Positional Plagiocephaly, says University of Southern California family medicine specialist Ricardo Hahn. 

“Parents don’t need to fight with their insurance company to make sure their baby’s skull development is normal,” Dr. Hahn says.  “All you need to do is follow a few easy steps to avoid plagiocephaly.  Prevention works in 99 percent of the cases.” 

 

Positional plagiocephaly is caused by continuous pressure on one part of a baby’s skull, resulting in a misshaping of their head.  Plagiocephaly is usually characterized by a flattening of the back of an infant’s head.  Often, the ears of plagiocephalic infants become lopsided, with one ear positioned closer to the face and the other positioned closer to the back of the head.  Plagiocephaly affects infant boys more than girls and has a higher incidence in low birth-weight infants. 

Dr. Hahn has recorded a Podcast, available for free downloading on iTunes, outlining preventive steps all parents should take.  He also has a website, www.drplagio.org, which contains essential guidelines for parents of newborns. 

Why is the deformity on the rise?  Today, one out of 20 infants experiences positional plagiocephaly according to the May 2, 2007 report in Pediatrics, the official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Twenty years ago, only one child out of 300 suffered from his condition. 

“This is because parents have responded so superbly to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ ‘Back to Sleep’ campaign launched in 1992,” Dr. Hahn says.  “‘Back to Sleep’ reversed the previous conventional wisdom by advocating infant back sleeping to prevent SIDS.  The problem was that health-care professionals became so pre-occupied with the overriding imperative to prevent SIDS that they underplayed plagiocephaly which saw exponential increases in occurrences corresponding exactly with the launch of ‘Back to Sleep’” . To be clear, I do NOT suggest deviating from AAP’s recommendations of back sleeping – babies should still be put to sleep on their backs – but parents need to be vigilant about integrating some preventative measures to also mitigate plagiocephaly.  Parents should regularly change their baby’s sleeping positions.  For example, if a parent puts their child to sleep with the child’s head turned to the right, then a few hours later, the parent needs to adjust the child’s head to the left.” 

Dr. Hahn says that many of his infant patients with plagiocephaly experience developmental delays, however, there have been no long term scientific studies of the disorder. 

“But parents can prevent plagiocephaly so easily,” Dr. Hahn said. “This is one medical disorder that can be prevented with just a little knowledge and commitment.” 


Author Bio

Born in Buenos Aires , Argentina , Dr. Hahn earned an undergraduate degree and a Master’s degree in Preventive Medicine at University of Washington , Seattle before attending medical school there.  He completed a residency in Family Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston as well as a fellowship in Emergency Medicine at the University of California , San Francisco (UCSF).

He is a board-certified family physician in practice at the Keck School of Medicine USC.
Prior to joining the faculty at USC in 1995, Dr. Hahn held faculty positions at UCSF, University of Michigan , Medical University of South Carolina, and the University of Tennessee in Memphis .

For more information, and a list of preventive measures, please visit www.dr.plagio.org

 

 

 


Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.

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Home
Subscribe!
What's New?

Mother's Tea
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Site Features

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Mother Books
Cartoons!
Poems
Links
Birth Stories
Site Map
Advertising

Contact Us


Birth, Joy, & Raspberry Leaves
-a new video compiled by Catherine and Amanda Young
of The Compleat Mother

Go HERE for more information on the waterbirth video!


Click here to read: The Farmer and the Obstetrician

Click here for the Home Sweet Homebirth (Video)

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Greg Cryns
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