Head Shape Types2022-08-31T15:22:12+00:00

Head Shape Types

Positional Plagiocephaly

Plagiocephaly is the asymmetric shaping of a child’s head. Positional plagiocephaly is normally caused by undue or excessive pressure on one side of the occipital (posterior or rear) area of a child’s head. This gives the head a general ‘parallelogram’ shape.

Positional plagiocephaly is categorized into three different levels: mild, moderate and severe. A child will fall into one of these categories based upon their cranial vault asymmetry and the degree of their facial asymmetries.

Degrees of Positional Plagiocephaly

Cranial Vault Asymmetry is the measurement process that is used to determine the severity of positional plagiocephaly. It is measured from specific landmarks on the front of the head toward the back diagonally. The larger the difference between these two measurements, the more likely it will be that the condition should be addressed.


Cranial Vault Asymmetry is less than 5mm


Cranial Vault Asymmetry is between 5 and 10mm


Cranial Vault Asymmetry is 10mm or greater


Brachycephaly is the symmetrical flattening of the back of a child’s head. Like positional plagiocephaly, it is generally caused by positioning. This flattening is marked by its symmetry across the back of the head.

Degrees of Deformational Brachycephaly

Cephalic Index (cephalic ratio) is the measurement that is used to determine the severity of brachycephaly. This compares the length-to-width ratio of a head shape.

The M-L (width) of the head is divided by the A-P (length) of the head. The result is the cephalic index.


This condition presents with central occipital flattening.


This condition presents with central occipital flattening,
widening of the posterior skull and frontal flattening or bossing.


Scaphocephaly is an abnormal elongation of a child’s head. These heads often seem very narrow and deep. Heads with scaphocephaly are not usually treated using cranial remolding orthoses.

Frequently Asked Questions