need opinions (pic heavy)

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Joined: 06/09/06
Posts: 3264
need opinions (pic heavy)

So Brian was born with mild torticollis (neck muscle tighter on one side of his neck due to cramped conditions in the womb and pressure from his twin - super common in baby A's). Thankfully, just one physical therapy appt and doing exercises with him at home has resolved it completely. Unfortunately, he spent the first several weeks of his life flattening the back left side of his head. By the time I caught it and asked his doctor about it, it was too late.

We've been aggressively doing 're-positioning' with him - he sleeps on his right side and I do everything in my power to keep him off the back of his head when he's awake. I met with the 'helmet people' at the children's hospital and she assured me that the only consequence of leaving his head misshapen is that his head will be misshapen (it's not so severe that he will have hearing or jaw or vision problems). So it's a cosmetic issue. She also won't give me her opinion about whether she recommends a helmet or not. She took measurements and pictures and is having us do the re-positioning and come back in 6 weeks (which is now 2 weeks away). She wants us to be prepared to make a decision at that time about what we want to do.

Also, insurance won't cover this and it's $1500 to do it. I took pictures a month ago and then more pictures earlier this week. It's such a difficult decision. I know from following the story of another pg.org member who went through this with her son that the first helmet they got didn't work and they had to drive several hours to do another kind of helmet. That's not an option for us, but it definitely opened my eyes to the possibility that we could spend a whole lot of money and not get good results, which makes the decision even harder. I'm also having a hard time being objective about this, from being able to tell whether it's gotten any better and whether or not it's bad enough that we should go the helmet route.

So I need some honest opinions. Do you see any improvement? Would you do a helmet if this were your child?

Here are pics from a month ago (sorry the quality isn't great, our camera really resists taking pics of his head!). It's REALLY difficult to capture this on film, too, I wish you all could see it in person!:

And pics from earlier this week (please ignore the scratches on his head - despite our constant trimming of his nails, he's always scratching at his head):

luangwa's picture
Joined: 06/29/07
Posts: 8898

I'll be back, just didn't want to leave you hanging. Smile Jax needs to get out of the bath and I don't have time for a proper response.

Jumarse's picture
Joined: 02/27/07
Posts: 5219

Total honesty here...if you had not mentioned before or here the mild torticollis, I wouldn't have thought his head had a thing wrong with it in the most recent pictures. I can see a bit of difference in the earlier pics, so whatever you are doing is working! Honestly, the one side of my family has flat backed heads, it's just genetics. I have a flat backed head, makes ponytails look stupid, lol. I can see from the left side that it may be a bit flatter, and maybe it's because I come from flat backed stock, it wouldn't bother me. For me personally, if he was my son, I wouldn't do the helmet. To make the decision, though, I'd totally set aside the cost or what you'd have to do to get the helmet, etc. Think of WHY you would want the helmet, what's the compelling reason, money and time aside. If you feel bothered enough that he doesn't have a perfectly round head, or think it will affect him in his life, then you'll make the rest of the pieces fall into place...even with a little difficulty!

Jennilynnjeff's picture
Joined: 06/11/07
Posts: 314

If it were my decision, my son, I would totally forget about it! Let it go...he's totally fine!! I wouldn't ever think about it again....DH has a slightly funky shaped head, and I think Jay's head is a little strange, too. They are both beautiful people, and I just would never think of "fixing" them at all. Looking at those pics, I really don't see it anyways...really. And if I did, I'd say it.

mist1006's picture
Joined: 01/10/07
Posts: 1018

Im on my phone, but I really don't see it. By the time he has a lot of hair, would you really even notice?

Joined: 08/20/07
Posts: 1567

I can tell a significant difference from the before and after pictures, and honestly - I wouldn't do a thing. I can't notice anything with the more recent ones. What's your gut telling you? What does DH think?

kristimcw's picture
Joined: 08/03/07
Posts: 1914

I see much improvement with what you are already doing. I think that once he has a headful of hair that you wont even notice it.

toothy35's picture
Joined: 02/20/06
Posts: 4578

i agree with everyone else..........especially, once he gets hair, will it be noticable??

StateChick's picture
Joined: 03/22/07
Posts: 3629

Ruth, I will be back with a longer reply also, but I see AMAZING improvement in the before/after pictures. Really...it is much rounder now.

I know this stress...Cadence's head was (and still is) really flat. Sad

BBL

luangwa's picture
Joined: 06/29/07
Posts: 8898

As a stylist, I can tell you I rarely encounter perfect shaped heads. It is more the norm to have a flat spot or an odd bulge, and everyone who asked the question, "Will it be noticable with a head full of hair?", makes a very good point. It won't be noticable, unless you plan on a boyhood of Princeton cuts.

Joined: 01/18/06
Posts: 1626

I agree...he looks great! If he were my son, I would just continue what you're doing now. I love his swirly hair. Smile

DitherDither's picture
Joined: 04/16/09
Posts: 152

Popping in again!

I thought I'd post because we went through the exact same thing with Rache, and I know how upset / stressed the whole thing made me. I first noticed his head being misshapen at 6 weeks, went to the pedi about it at 8 weeks, did the repositioning, etc, but none of that ever seemed to help. In fact, his head got worse and worse up until about 6 mos. Some days I would be almost sick about it -- it looked so bad. On one hand I felt silly being worried about something cosmetic. But on the other hand, I didn't want him to have a misshaped head....babies are supposed to be perfect right? Smile

So, I finally took him to see a pediatric neurosurgeon about a helmet, and she told us very similar things to what you were told. His was offcially given a 'moderate to severe' diagnosis, and, fortunately, like Brian, it only affected Rache's head and not his face. And, like your dr., ours couldn't give us her opinion, which I understand, but still... I wanted her to tell me what she thought!

We decided against the helmet, and I don't regret it at all. It was expensive, and he had just started sleeping well again after a really bad patch. It didn't seem worth it. What really convinced me was the dr telling me that there are no studies letting us know if, at one year old, kids that had helmets are any better off than kids that did not. In other words, a helmet will correct it quickly, but most babies with misshapen heads will probably 'round out' on their own anyways. So, in the long run, having a helmet and not having a helmet may have the same results.

Is his head still funny shaped? Yes! Is it as bad as it was? No. It improved a lot once he started sleeping on his tummy. You can't tell unless you give his head a good massage. I think we made the right decision for us.

If you are like me, I know this is stressful. I remember feeling like somehow I had messed up this perfect little baby. I took pictures, compared them, etc., trying to see if he was improving. I look back on those pictures and WOW -- they are shocking! If I can, I will post them later. His head was bad! But it's just fine now. Smile Hope this helps!

Okay....here are the pictures. Looking at them again, I'm almost embarrassed by them. His head really is fine now, as bad as it looks!

Photobucket

Photobucket

StateChick's picture
Joined: 03/22/07
Posts: 3629

Ruth, the reason I was gonna come back is to add pics of Cadence. Her head was also really flat (to the point that MIL made mean comments about it).

As an almost 3 yr old, she still has some flatness, and I don't really think it is noticeable unless her hair is wet.

I asked the pedi about it multiple times and he always brushed me off.

Anyway, the pics aren't on this computer, so I can't add them, but I just wanted to say again that I really think his head is much, much better already, and I didn't see any improvement in Cadence until over a year, so I think it is great that his head is already rounding out!

Allie01979's picture
Joined: 10/10/07
Posts: 4706

"sera22" wrote:

I can tell a significant difference from the before and after pictures, and honestly - I wouldn't do a thing. I can't notice anything with the more recent ones. What's your gut telling you? What does DH think?

I agree with this, I see a real difference. As long as it's not causing other problems I would let it be Smile

regdahl's picture
Joined: 05/05/07
Posts: 777

100% honest - I see a huge difference from the first set of pics to the second. Looking at the second set I wouldn't do anything other than what you are doing. It seems to be working. Our friends little guy had a pretty big bump on his head that was from a calcified hematoma. It was VERY noticeable as a baby with very little hair. But once his head grew more and he got hair you don't notice it at all anymore. I know it's not exactly the same, but just saying what once was very noticeable no longer is.

MamaArty_RMT's picture
Joined: 11/09/05
Posts: 805

I really do see a difference, and I think if you keep working with him it will only improve more. Also, I think once his hair grows in it will probably be even less noticeable. If it were me, I think I'd skip the helmet and keep doing what you're doing. Smile

Joined: 05/05/07
Posts: 366

Do you mind if I chime in?

Ruth, on the pic of him in the bumbo, can you photo shop it with a line from ear to ear and midline? I think this will make you feel a lot better. Each piece of the pie looks pretty good when compared to the other quarter. There is a bit of asymmetry, but it does indeed look much better than the before photos.

So, me, I would wonder when this is all grown up and covered in hair will his head 1) get teased for looking funny 2) fit in an athletic helmet 3) do the ears line up for glasses

2 and 3 were a serious concern for me, but Alex had some pretty serious asymmetry in those areas. Plus our insurance covered it fully and we live near a childrens hospital with a great reputation for orthotics. Took that part out the equation for us.

I know which kid you are talking of- I remember her story. I would also be wary of this, seeing what she had to go through for her Alex.

Such a toughy, Ruth. Your call, I cant make it for you. I will say that the helmet was THE BEST decision we made for Alex but it was also the HARDEST 8 weeks of our lives as a family. Its no cake walk. The helmet seriously sucks. But in the end it gave my boy a perfect little bean and I would do it again know everything I know about it now.

((hugs)) Cant wait to hear what they say at his appointment.

brandifawn's picture
Joined: 05/28/07
Posts: 348

I too see a huge difference in the first set of pictures and the second. Whatever you are doing it looks like it is working to me. I would continue to do that!
Also, like Jan said, are his ears going to line up if he needs glasses? That would be a concern for me to ask, but if it won't effect that then, like the others have said, it really doesn't look, to me, like once he has hair you'll even notice. Good luck with your decision!

tybaysmom's picture
Joined: 04/08/07
Posts: 483

I see a pretty significant difference in the pics too. Since it's already shown improvement with what you've been doing then I would probably just keep going that route.

EmilyC3's picture
Joined: 10/27/07
Posts: 1170

I can totally see a difference! I think that you are doing a great job so just keep doing what you are doing Smile

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

ITA with the others, I would leave it. My oldest has a partly flat head, and I myself have a flat head from being in a brace as an infant. It really bothers me, so I know what you are talking about, and every day I am grateful to have hair. But in your case, the improvement is so marked that I think you have already fixed the problem.

mbowman's picture
Joined: 08/22/07
Posts: 1063

I agree with what everyone else has said. In the more recent pics, I really don't notice much flatness. And anymore, it seems like a lot of babies have a flat head from sleeping on their backs. I can think of several friends whose kids had horribly flattened heads and their docs weren't concerned and they did "round out" some on their own.

BTW, I can't believe how much he looks like Noelle in the profile pic!