Head Shape Program

The Department of Orthotics and Prosthetics works with the Division of Plastic Surgery’s Head Shape Evaluation Program and Physical Therapy D​epartment, as well as outside physicians, to help treat babies with head shape abnormalities, including:

  • Positional plagiocephaly
  • Post-operative cranial synostosis 

After the “Back to Sleep” movement in the 1990s that encouraged parents to position their babies on their back while they sleep, there was a surge of babies with head shape abnormalities. To counter the hours of sleeping, we encourage that babies spend up to half of their waking time on their tummies to reduce the likelihood head shape abnormalities, and to strengthen muscles that are not used while on their backs. Learn more about Tummy Time.​

The Lurie Children's Difference

Our team uses cranial molding helmets to help shape babies’ heads, yet we also work with other medical specialties to make sure all of our patients’ needs are met. We work with our plastic surgery team and physical therapy team to make sure patients are diagnosed correctly and fully treated, making sure that in addition to a helmet, there is a rehabilitative and training process to teach parents and children good positioning to prevent plagiocephaly and promote normal motor development. 

What to Expect

Patients can schedule an appointment with us for an evaluation after they’ve received a referral from a physician, which is typically a neurologist, neurosurgeon, plastic surgeon or pediatrician. We typically begin seeing babies when they’re between three and seven months old.

At the first appointment, our team will perform a clinical evaluation and take measurements of the baby’s head. If a cranial remolding orthosis is needed, we can take a scan and/or plaster impression (cast) to create a custom cranial remolding orthosis.  

Each helmet is custom-made to fit your baby’s head. The fabrication, or creation, process takes about two weeks. After the helmet is made, the baby will come in for a fitting to make sure it’s the correct size and comfortable.

Follow-up is an important part of the program, your child’s helmet may need to be periodically checked and adjusted due to growth and progress.

The baby will be brought to the office for check ups every two to three weeks for three to five months, or until their head grows into a normal shape.

Make an Appointment

After receiving a referral from a physician, you can make an appointment to have your child evaluated by calling 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC®) or calling our office at 312.227.6210.

Resources

For information on helping your child get used to wearing a helmet, download Helping Baby to a Helmet​

Philanthropy

Your support is vital in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of patients and families. Lurie Children’s relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research for children. To learn more, please e-mail the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at foundation@luriechildrens.org or call 312.227.7500