We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Brachycephaly?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Brachycephaly is a type of skull deformity in which the skull appears proportionally wide, with a reduced depth between the front and back of the skull. In addition to looking unusual, this deformity can potentially interfere with intercranial pressure and brain development, making it dangerous. For this reason, most people opt to treat brachycephaly.

This condition is usually noticed in infants who are a few months old. Initially the skull may look normal, but over time, it fails to develop evenly. Parents may notice that the children have unusually shaped heads, and physicians may take note of abnormal skull development and suggest testing to determine the cause of the unusual head shape.

There are two reasons for brachycephaly to occur. The first is craniosynostosis, in which one or more of the sutures of the skull close prematurely. When people are born, rather than being solid, the skull is made from several moving pieces of bone. These pieces of bone gradually fuse together, allowing the brain room to grow and eventually fusing into a solid skull. The joins between the pieces of bone are known as “sutures.” In the case of brachycephaly, the coronal sutures of the skull fuse too early, preventing the skull from growing normally.

A closely related condition is plagiocephaly, in which only one of the coronal sutures fuses too early. Children with this condition develop swelling on one side of the head. The skull can also develop an elongated shape in scaphocephaly, caused by premature fusion of the sagittal suture.

The treatment for brachycephaly caused by premature closing of the coronal sutures is surgery to pull the sutures apart again, giving the brain more room to grow. The surgery is performed when the child is less than one year of age, and it does carry some risks for the patient, including the risks which accompany the anesthesia necessary to reduce pain and discomfort for the patient.

Brachycephaly can also be a positional deformity, caused by keeping an infant on his or her back too much. Sleeping on the back is recommended to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), but it can result in positional deformities as a result of pressure on the skull which causes it to develop unevenly. The solution to a positional deformity can involve a wait and see approach, along with the use of padding to relieve pressure on the skull. For extreme cases, the infant may need to wear a helmet for several months which will help the skull develop evenly.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.