Evidence-based care of the child with deformational plagiocephaly, part II: management

J Pediatr Health Care. Sep-Oct 2012;26(5):320-31. doi: 10.1016/j.pedhc.2011.10.002.


Non-synostotic deformational plagiocephaly (DP) is a common condition that affects as many as one in five infants in the first 2 months of life. The purpose of this article, the second in a two-part series, is to present a synthesis of the evidence related to management of deformational plagiocephaly and an evidence-based clinical decision tool for multidisciplinary management of DP. We systematically reviewed and graded the literature on management of DP from 2000 to 2011 based on level of evidence and quality. The evidence suggests that although many cases of DP will improve over time, conservative management strategies such as repositioning, physical therapy, and cranial molding devices can safely and effectively minimize the degree of skull asymmetry when implemented in the first year of life. Outcomes are best when the timing of diagnosis and severity of asymmetry guide decision making related to interventions and referrals for DP. Prevention and management of early signs of DP are best achieved in a primary care setting, with multidisciplinary management based on the needs of the child and the goals of the family.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Head Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Plagiocephaly, Nonsynostotic / diagnosis
  • Plagiocephaly, Nonsynostotic / therapy*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Sleep
  • Supine Position
  • Time Factors
  • Torticollis / diagnosis
  • Torticollis / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome