Cranial helmet therapy, also known as cranial orthosis, is a treatment to correct the shape of a baby’s skull. As babies grow, especially during the first year of life, their skulls are malleable. This period is vital as about 85% of a baby’s head growth occurs, making early intervention essential. The therapy uses a custom-fitted helmet that gently directs the growth of the baby’s head into a more typical shape.
The journey begins with understanding when to start. The optimal age for helmet therapy is between 4 and 6 months. This timing leverages rapid growth phases for the most effective reshaping. While treatment can extend up to 18 months of age, the earlier it begins, the better the outcomes tend to be.
Families usually start with a consultation and complimentary cranial evaluation at the Cranial Center of New Jersey. Experts will assess the baby’s head shape and guide whether to proceed with helmet therapy or if alternative methods, like repositioning techniques, might be more appropriate initially.
Once the need for a cranial helmet is determined and a physician’s prescription is obtained, the journey into custom fitting begins. Clinics use modern digital scanning technologies to capture the precise shape of the baby’s head. This scan is sent to a design center where the helmet is tailored to the baby’s current shape and anticipated growth patterns, adhering strictly to FDA guidelines.
After the helmet is fabricated, families return for fitting and delivery within two weeks of the scan. An orthotist will adjust the helmet for the perfect fit, ensuring comfort and effectiveness. They’ll also guide families through the break-in schedule and cleaning instructions and set up a series of follow-up appointments.
Follow-ups are a critical part of the journey. Scheduled every 2-6 weeks, these appointments allow the orthotist to adjust the helmet as the baby grows and to monitor progress. Families also receive mid-treatment and end-of-treatment scans, offering visual evidence of the baby’s head shape improvement.
The treatment duration typically spans 3 to 6 months, depending on the baby’s growth and the severity of cranial asymmetry. Throughout this period, parents play a vital role in ensuring the helmet is worn as prescribed and maintaining the helmet’s cleanliness.
Finally, when the baby graduates from helmet therapy, it’s not just a milestone for the little one but a celebration of the journey and commitment from the entire family. It’s a moment of success and relief, often commemorated by the clinic and the family.
Understanding the financial aspect is also crucial. Many insurance plans cover cranial helmets, but coverage varies. Cranial Centers of New Jersey assist families by verifying insurance benefits and obtaining prior authorization. A prescription is always required, and families are provided with an estimate of costs before beginning treatment.
In summary, cranial helmet therapy is a growth, adjustment, and care journey. It’s a testament to the blend of medical expertise and parental commitment, all focused on ensuring the best outcomes for the baby’s developmental needs. As with any medical treatment, consult healthcare professionals to understand the best path for your child’s needs.
Call the Cranial Centers of New Jersey at 800 685 9116 to schedule a complimentary consultation in our Morristown, Hackensack, or Hazlet locations.