Your questions, answered.

Does my child have a problem?

First Signs

Parents often notice mild deformities in their babies' skulls and naturally begin to worry. Is this normal? Is this a problem? What do we do about it? Will this go away on its own? It is perfectly normal for your newborn baby to have an abnormal head shape. Abnormal head shapes caused by the birth process should begin to resolve over time, within a few weeks.

However, if any flat spots or abnormal shaping are still apparent, some intervention may be required to correct the problem. To be absolutely sure of the normalcy of your baby's head shape, please consult your physician.

Baby with STARband

A Simple Test

Look down upon your baby's head from above and compare what you see to the diagrams below.

Your baby's head shape will likely approximate one of the shapes in our diagram. If your child presents with an abnormal head shape, discuss your concerns with your Doctor. Also, consider bringing your child to a STARscanner™ location for an in-depth evaluation, if only to assure yourself that all is normal. It is recommended that you bring your child in for a scan as early as 2 months of age for a baseline scan. This will allow your Orthotist to determine the effectiveness of conservative repositioning efforts in order to make the proper clinical recommendation by 4-6 months of age.

Please be assured that a visit to have your baby evaluated will not result an automatic decision to have your baby fitted for a head shape correctional device. Unlike some providers, Orthotists for STARband® often determine that no intervention is necessary and that simple re-positioning and "tummy time" will be all that is required. (Flat spots — Plagiocephaly — are often the result of babies spending excessive time on their backs, either in their crib or car carrier.)

Pictures For Reference

Examples of various instances of abnormal head shapes. All were correctable using STARband. Compare your baby to these photos to see if you think your child might have a problem.

How do we fix it?

Treatment Options

Baby in carseat Let Nature Take Her Course – Many cases of abnormal head shape resolve on their own without need of any intervention other than trying to keep your baby from spending too much time in one position. Excessive time spent in a car carrier or being left on their backs in a crib can lead to head shape abnormalities. The best way to compensate for the hours your baby spends on his or her back is to spend some quality "tummy time".

Tummy Time – Provides parents with ideas and activities to make sure your baby gets enough time on his/her tummy throughout the day, while he/she is awake and supervised. These activities include handling, carrying, diapering, positioning, feeding and playing with your baby. Please visit the Library for more detailed information.

STARband – A baby fortunate enough to be fitted with a STARband in the optimum age range will wear the helmet 23 hours a day and will gently guide the baby’s head into a more normal shape. Please consult with your Physician and/or Orthotist for more detailed information.

Three Months to Liftoff

See the STARband experience through the eyes of a young family.

What Parents Need to Know

Refer to the list of links and resources below for more specific and in-depth information concerning Plagiocephaly and other head shape abnormalities, current trends among Orthotists and Physical Therapists and other issues related to cranial health. Please refer to our Library for more information.

Is STARband the answer?

What It Is

STARband Cranial Remolding Orthosis The STARband, Cranial Remolding Orthosis, is part of Orthomerica's STAR Family of Cranial Remolding Orthoses that provides effective management and treatment of a wide variety of head shape abnormalities. Since 2001, infants have been successfully treated with the STARband throughout the United States and around the globe. The STAR Family of Cranial Remolding Orthoses has been used to treat Deformational Plagiocephaly, Brachycephaly and Scaphocephaly in infants 3-18 months. More recently, Orthomerica has received FDA clearance for the STAR Family of Cranial Remolding Orthoses for post-operative Craniosynostosis.

Why It Works

Cranial remolding treatment is only effective if you have adequate control over the areas of bossing (bulging) and allow adequate room for growth in the flattened areas. That being said, it is paramount that the holding areas of the helmet match the exact anatomy of your child to prevent skin complications. Treatment with a STARband begins with an initial laser scan of your baby's head with a STARscanner. The scan takes less than 2 seconds and enables us to create a custom cranial remolding helmet that is accurate to 0.5mm, ensuring that your child gets the best possible clinical outcome.

Who is Orthomerica Anyway?

Photo of baby in clinic Orthomerica is an industry leading developer of custom orthotics and maintains a close association with Orthotists worldwide to continue to advance technologies and treatments for adults as well as children and babies. It is this wide-ranging involvement with all aspects of orthoses and treatments that has positioned Orthomerica as a pioneer and leader in the treatment of Plagiocephaly, Brachycephaly, Scaphocephaly and other head shape abnormalities.

What about costs and insurance?

Cost Comparison
Choosing a STARband can be a more efficient treatment option.

Photo of baby playing with father Once a baby is diagnosed with a head shape deformity and requires cranial remolding treatment, the Orthotist needs to capture the 3D shape of your baby’s head. Traditionally, this has meant taking a plaster cast of the baby’s head – a process that takes 15- 30 minutes and is often traumatic, tearful and messy for the baby and parents. Orthomerica’s STARscanner, by contrast, uses laser technology to scan a baby’s head in less than 2 seconds and captures 3-D head shape data that is accurate to within 0.5mm. The STARscanner expedites this part of the process. Once the data is collected, it is emailed directly to Orthomerica to begin immediate manufacturing of the custom-made STARband. STARband treatment is most effective when using the STARscanner to capture the baby’s head shape data. It is more accurate and is able to be submitted quickly, which enables the STARband to be custom-made to the actual baby’s head shape.

Only One STARband May Be Needed!

Each STARband is custom-made as specified by the practitioner with the data provided by the STARscanner. The STARband is custom-made with full correction which means less follow-up visits would be needed. One helmet will usually last the entire treatment. However, in very severe cases, a second helmet may be necessary.

Convenient Locations!

More than 160 STARscanners are in use at prestigious institutions including clinics and hospitals throughout the world. Visit our STARscanner Locator Page to find a location close to you.

Insurance Issues

As you might expect, it is difficult to make any definitive statements about insurance coverage, because so much depends on individual policies, coverage and companies.

Before contacting your insurance carrier, the following documentation will be needed:

  • A prescription from a physician

In addition, the insurance carrier may also require this information:

  • Proof that repositioning or physical therapy during a prescribed time period was unsuccessful.
  • Specific measurements and even clinical photographs may also be necessary.

To be sure of your coverage, always contact your insurance company before your first visit with an Orthotist! Ask them if your particular policy covers Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and further, if they cover billing code S1040. They may say they cover L0100, but that is for a protective helmet, not a cranial remolding orthosis. Cranial remolding orthoses fall under orthotics and prosthetics, which typically is a sub-section under “Durable Medical Equipment” (DME) under most insurance plans. Some insurance carriers will pay for the orthosis if measurements indicate that the baby’s head has a moderate-to-severe deformity and your physician writes a letter stating that a custom cranial orthosis is medically necessary. This letter may also specify whether the deformity was present at birth and highlight potential problems that might occur if the problem is not treated at this time.

If insurance doesn’t cover cranial remolding orthoses, parents should discuss payment plans with the Orthotist and/or Clinician.

Organizations that can help:

Care Credit

http://www.carecredit.com/

If you or your organization would be interested in helping us make STARband treatment available for babies in need, please contact us at (877) 737-8444.

CAPPSKIDS

http://www.cappskids.org/

CAPPS will assist you in connecting with the very best specialist and families in your area by putting them right at your fingerprints.

Share A Smile

http://www.shareasmile.org/

Share A Smile is a Michigan-based charitable organization founded in 1999 to meet the needs of ordinary citizens struggling with financial crisis, due to unemployment, health crisis, or natural disaster. We strive to make a difference, one person at a time.

Now what?

Photo of Doctor Ask Your Doctor

Always refer to your doctor with any concerns you have about your baby's health. Please keep in mind the corrective time period - between 4 months and 12 months. That is the optimum age for correcting the effects of Plagiocephaly, Brachycephaly or Scaphocephaly with a cranial remolding helmet such as the STARband.

Get Scanned – Chances are excellent that there is a STARscanner near you. We offer many locations – 160 and counting to make your treatment as convenient as possible. Once you have the prescription from your doctor, bring your baby in for an initial evaluation by a trained Orthotist to receive a baseline scan. Your Orthotist will then explain the results of the scan and the particular STARband you will need. You can also choose from a variety of colors and patterns to individualize your STARband and make it special. When the helmet is ready, your Orthotist will fit your baby's helmet. Then, he/ she will instruct you on the care and treatment to follow.

A regular schedule of follow-ups will be established to monitor your baby's progress. Your Orthotist may make adjustments to your STARband from time to time as your baby grows into his/her helmet.

Locate the STARscanner nearest you.

See how easy it is to have your child scanned.

Find A STARscanner™

STARscanner Chances are there's a STARscanner nearby, staffed with highly knowledgeable, helpful clinicians who will provide the care your child needs.

Click here to find a STARscanner location near you.

Who else has gone through this?

Testimonials

Everyone's experience is different, but you will find common themes of customer service, fears allayed and the joy of happy results in stories of people just like you who had questions...

After two months of wearing the STARband, we were extremely pleased when the neurologist told us that Lucas’ head was corrected, and he no longer needed to wear it. Now at almost eight months old, you would never be able to tell that there was ever a problem with his head. As a pediatric nurse, I am well aware of the benefits of early intervention. As a mother, I understand the concerns parents face in caring for a child with this condition. Thanks to our orthotist and Orthomerica for making our experience a pleasurable one.

Elyse and Paul Davis

The information gained with the STARscanner provides a critical part by providing guidance in the evaluation of the treatment protocols, including both physical therapy and cranial orthosis. It allows us to not only create and manage orthotic helmets when necessary, but also, to manage total patient care. It provides accurate, reproducible and understandable objective data for the family and the caregiver.

Frank Vicari, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.A.P.
Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery
Children’s Memorial Hospital - Chicago, IL

Parents who have gone through both procedures (casting and scanning) have said, “Is that it? The STARscan was so fast and clean!” They are also very impressed with the documentation the STARscanner provides, compared to the past when only photos and a malleable lead strip were used to get the shape.

Mark Porth, C.P.O.
Mary Free Bed Hospital, Michigan

The STARscanner has revolutionized the approach to cranial remolding for plagiocephaly. ­­In fact, it has become foundational to our Cranial Remolding Program. The parental stress level during the measurement process appears to be markedly reduced, compared with our experience with traditional casting.

Janet Lombardo, C.P.O.
Manager of Orthotics & Prosthetics
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

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