Exploring the impact of osteopathic treatment on cranial asymmetries associated with nonsynostotic plagiocephaly in infants

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Nov;17(4):193-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2011.02.001. Epub 2011 Mar 5.


Objectives: To document the evolution of cranial asymmetries in infants with signs of nonsynostotic occipital plagiocephaly (NSOP) who were to undergo a course of four osteopathic treatments (in addition to the standard positioning recommendations) as well as to determine the feasibility of using this methodology to conduct a randomized clinical trial investigating the impact of osteopathic intervention for infants with NSOP.

Design: Pilot clinical standardization project using pre-post design in which 12 infants participated. Ten infants presented an initial Oblique Diameter Difference Index (ODDI) over 104% and five of them had an initial moderate to severe Cranial Vault Asymmetry (CVA) (over 12mm).

Interventions: Infants received four osteopathic treatments at 2-week intervals.

Main outcome measures: Anthropometric, plagiocephalometric as well as qualitative measures were administered pre-intervention (T1), during the third treatment (T2) and two weeks after the fourth treatment (T3).

Results: Participants showed a significant decrease in CVA (p=0.02), Skull Base Asymmetry (SBA) (p=0.01), Trans-Cranial Vault Asymmetry (TCVA) (p<0.003) between the first and third evaluations.

Conclusions: These clinical findings support the hypothesis that osteopathic treatments contribute to the improvement of cranial asymmetries in infants younger than 6.5 months old presenting with NSOP characteristics.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Manipulation, Osteopathic*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plagiocephaly, Nonsynostotic / therapy*
  • Research Design