Study finds prevalence of flat head syndrome among babies with brachial plexus injuries

Babies with brachial plexus palsy may be at a higher risk of developing plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, a condition that causes an infant’s head to be misshapen. Brachial plexus palsy is a birth injury that results in weakness or the loss of movement in a baby’s arm due to the collection of nerves around the shoulder being damaged during birth.

Megan Tang of the University of Michigan’s Brachial Plexus Program and her colleagues examined 28 babies with neonatal brachial plexus palsy (NBPP). They found that 64 percent had plagiocephaly. Of those, 21 percent of the cases resolved spontaneously.

The researchers evaluated the occurrence of plagiocephaly in the babies and examined the condition in relation to factors such as arm functions and demographics. They also looked at spontaneous recovery from plagiocephaly in relation to arm functions. The severity of the NBPP in the babies was rated on a scale ranging from one to four. The team also used impressions of the infants’ heads to gather plagiocephaly data.

“We did find that there was a high prevalence of plagiocephaly among the infants with neonatal brachial plexus palsy . . . There seems to have been a trend of an improvement in active range of motion that was promulgated with the resolution of plagiocephaly,” said Tang.

She recommended “tummy time,” or placing the baby on its stomach for a certain period every day to reduce the chances of developing plagiocephaly.

It is important to note that determining fault can be more complicated than it might seem. If your child was injured and you believe someone else is fully or partially to blame, contact Chalik & Chalik to learn more about your rights.