Children's Hospital Colorado
Craniofacial Center

Positional Plagiocephaly

We treat kids like they should be treated: like kids. That’s why we designed our hospital just for them.

U.S. News & World Report badge - Honor Roll

Next Steps

Would you like to learn more about us?
Craniofacial Center
Do you have questions about your child’s condition?
Call

What is positional plagiocephaly?

Positional plagiocephaly, also known as deformational plagiocephaly, is a condition in which one side of the back of a baby's head is flattened. It is different from lambdoid craniosynostosis in that there is no associated early suture fusion and the physical findings are distinct. Positional plagiocephaly does not affect brain development and is of cosmetic and psychosocial concern only.

Who gets positional plagiocephaly?

There are many factors that can contribute to flattening of the back of the head in a baby. These factors can have an effect either prenatally or after birth. Babies with less room in utero are more prone to positional plagiocephaly. This crowding can be due to multiple babies (twins, triplets, etc.) or a condition of the uterus (fibroids). Premature babies are at an increased risk of deformation due to external forces because their skull bones are softer.

Babies may have a positional preference in one direction or the other, meaning that s/he may simply keep the head turned one way most of the time. This can lead to flattening on this side. In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that healthy term infants be placed supine (lying on the back) for sleep. The Back to Sleep Campaign resulted in a reduction in the risk of Sudden Infant Death. However, the incidence of posterior positional plagiocephaly increased. The positional preference may also be due to torticollis (tight neck muscles) or visual problems.

Next steps

Get to know our pediatric experts.

James Jaggers, MD

James Jaggers, MD

Cardiothoracic Surgery, Cardiac Surgery

Patient ratings and reviews are not available Why?

AnnaMaria Salas, PA-C

AnnaMaria Salas, PA-C

Physician Assistant

Patient ratings and reviews are not available Why?

Stig Somme, MD

Stig Somme, MD

Surgery - Pediatric, Surgery

Lauren Hill, MSN

Lauren Hill, MSN

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Patient ratings and reviews are not available Why?