Evidence-Based Care of the Child With Deformational Plagiocephaly, Part II: Management

Amanda B Kack Flannery, Wendy S. Looman, Kristin Kemper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Non-synostotic deformational plagiocephaly (DP) is a common condition that affects as many as one in five infants in the first 2 months of life. The purpose of this article, the second in a two-part series, is to present a synthesis of the evidence related to management of deformational plagiocephaly and an evidence-based clinical decision tool for multidisciplinary management of DP. We systematically reviewed and graded the literature on management of DP from 2000 to 2011 based on level of evidence and quality. The evidence suggests that although many cases of DP will improve over time, conservative management strategies such as repositioning, physical therapy, and cranial molding devices can safely and effectively minimize the degree of skull asymmetry when implemented in the first year of life. Outcomes are best when the timing of diagnosis and severity of asymmetry guide decision making related to interventions and referrals for DP. Prevention and management of early signs of DP are best achieved in a primary care setting, with multidisciplinary management based on the needs of the child and the goals of the family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-331
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pediatric Health Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 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 and Human Services .


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


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