Evidence-Based Care of the Child With Deformational Plagiocephaly, Part I: Assessment and Diagnosis

Wendy S. Looman, Amanda B. Kack Flannery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Non-synostotic deformational plagiocephaly (DP) is head asymmetry that results from external forces that mold the skull in the first year of life. Primary care providers are most likely to encounter DP when infants present for well-child care, and for this reason it is important that providers be competent in assessing, diagnosing, and participating in the prevention and management of DP. The purpose of this two-part series on DP is to present an overview of assessment, diagnosis, and evidence-based management of DP for health care providers. In Part I we provide a brief background of DP and associated problems with torticollis and infant development, and we present strategies for visual and anthropometric assessment of the infant with suspected DP. We also provide tools for differentiating DP from craniosynostosis and for classifying the type and severity of lateral and posterior DP. Part II (to be published in a future issue of the Journal of Pediatric Health Care) provides a synthesis of current evidence and a clinical decision tool for evidence-based management of DP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-250
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pediatric Health Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by a grant to the Center for Children with Special Health Care Needs, T80-MC00010 , from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau , Health Resources and Services Administration , U.S. Department of Health & Human Services .


  • Assessment
  • Cranial asymmetry
  • Deformational plagiocephaly
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Infant care


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