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Outcome Analysis of Helmet Therapy for Positional Plagiocephaly Using a Three-Dimensional Surface Scanning Laser

Thompson, James T. MD; David, Lisa R. MD; Wood, Benjamin BS; Argenta, Anne BS; Simpson, Jordan BS; Argenta, Louis C. MD

Journal of Craniofacial Surgery: March 2009 - Volume 20 - Issue 2 - p 362-365
doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e3181992382
Original Articles

Introduction: A dramatic rise in positional plagiocephaly has been noted over the last decade. Methods for treating and following outcomes are varied. We present our results from a passive soft helmet molding therapy using a surface scanning laser to provide objective outcomes.

Methods: One hundred seventy-five infants with positional plagiocephaly were treated at our institution over a 6-month period. The helmets used were soft foam helmets modified to fit each patient. Results were measured using a three-dimensional surface scanning laser and objective measurements of asymmetry. Compliance was also documented.

Results: The scanning laser allowed for objective measurements of symmetry over time and was useful in following outcomes. Improvement in head shape was noted after about 4 months of therapy. Patients who were more compliant with therapy achieved better results.

Conclusion: Use of the three-dimensional scanning laser and objective scoring system shows significant improvement in patients who were compliant with helmet therapy.

From the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Received May 10, 2008.

Accepted for publication May 26, 2008.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to James T. Thompson, MD, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC 27157; E-mail:

© 2009 Mutaz B. Habal, MD