Researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, used a 3D measure of head shape and volume to demonstrate the efficacy of using cranial remolding helmets to treat deformational plagiocephaly. Head symmetry was measured pre- and post-treatment and, using their calculation method, the researchers found that more than 95 percent of the patients demonstrated an improvement in head shape symmetry with orthotic helmet therapy. The results were published online January 9 in the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery.
Forty infants, from four to ten months old who had been diagnosed with deformational plagiocephaly were photographed with 3D photogrammetry, or noncontact imaging, before and after molding helmet treatment. 3dMDvultus software was used to record anatomical references and measurements. (Previous studies have used linear and two-dimensional outcome measures to assess changes in cranial symmetry after helmet therapy.) After treatment, the researchers used root mean square (RMS), a measure of the magnitude of a change, to calculate the changes in volume and shape over time and the value of the distances between the reference points, to conclude that 95 percent of the patients demonstrated an improvement in head shape symmetry with orthotic helmet therapy.
In addition, after the infants were divided into two age-based subgroups, the researchers found that a greater improvement in symmetry was seen if therapy was started before the infant was seven months old.