"Barney was born at nearly 36 weeks gestation, arriving 3 minutes before his twin brother Seth. His head shape at first was completely normal, and it was only when he was around 10 weeks old that we noticed he always faced to the right and that the back of the right side of his head was becoming flat. He seemed to have difficulty looking to the left.
The first thing we did was take him to the GP who agreed that his head was quite flat and referred him to a paediatrician. Whilst waiting for his appointment we did lots of research on the internet and found out about torticollis, plagiocephaly and the remoulding helmets. We did everything we could to encourage Barney to turn his head to the left and also bought him a sleep curve mattress. This has a groove where the babies head lies to take the pressure off it and it did seem to make it easier for Barney to turn his head to the left whilst lying down.
When Barney was four months old we saw the paediatrician who ruled out craniosynostosis and diagnosed him with positional plagiocephaly. He thought that Barney had possibly previously had a mild torticollis, however this had now completely resolved and he could move his head freely. The flattening had not improved however, his ears were quite out of line and one side of his forehead was more prominent than the other. I asked the paediatrician what he felt about the helmets. He said that he had previously been in touch with one of the helmet manufacturers and had a lot of respect for them, however advised taking some photographs of Barney's head and then waiting a couple of months to see if it self-corrected at all before making a decision.
When Barney was 6 months old we looked again at the photographs from a couple of months ago and it was obvious that his head shape had not self-corrected at all. Lots of people including health visitors kept saying 'don't worry, it will correct itself as he grows' however I was really beginning to doubt this. I then found an online support group for adults with plagiocephaly which had not been corrected as babies. This to me was proof that plagiocephaly does not always correct itself,
and reading about some of the psychological and social problems these adults faced as a result of their plagiocephaly made us absolutely sure that we could not risk 'waiting for it to grow out'. It was then that we found the Steeper Clinic in Leeds and were given an appointment for Barney to have a scan within a few days.
Our orthotist at Steeper Clinic was very good at distracting Barney with a toy whilst he was scanned, it was very quick and easy. The scan showed that he had an asymmetry measurement of 18.6mm which was in the severe category.
We chose a very funky camouflage helmet for him and he was fitted with it a couple of weeks later. The first day was hard as we had to keep taking the helmet on and off to build up his time in it, and I missed being able to snuggle his head into my chest for cuddles. He got lots of extra cuddles at bath time when the helmet was off though, and within a couple of days we were all used to it. I was worried that it may affect his personality, however he was just as bubbly and happy as normal and didn't seem bothered by the helmet at all.
We took him back after a few weeks for another scan and his asymmetry measurement had already reduced to 12.6mm. Over the next few months the improvement was slow but steady. After 9 months in the helmet we decided that Barneys head looked so good that we would remove it. His asymmetry measurement ended up at 8.6mm which still sounds high, however the 3D scans which Kate did really showed on paper the huge improvement in his head shape. His facial asymmetry has disappeared and the very small amount of flattening which remains is really not noticeable.
We are so pleased that we got this treatment for Barney, and are sure that his head shape would not have corrected without the help of the helmet."
- Barney's parents