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Ranbir Ahluwalia, Chelsea Kiely, Jarrett Foster, Stephen Gannon, Alyssa L. Wiseman, Chevis N. Shannon and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to assess the prevalence and severity of positional posterior plagiocephaly (PPP) in the pediatric population at a tertiary care center.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 1429 consecutive patients aged 2 months to 18 years who presented with head trauma and a negative CT scan in 2018. The cohort was stratified by age. The cranial vault asymmetry index (CVAI) was calculated at the superior orbital rim. Asymmetry was categorized according to the following CVAI scores: mild (3.5%–7%), moderate (7%–12%), and severe (> 12%). Patients were grouped by age to assess PPP at different stages of head development: group 1, 2–5 months; group 2, 6–11 months; group 3, 12–23 months; group 4: 2–4 years; group 5, 5–8 years; group 6, 9–12 years; and group 7, 13–18 years. Patients with a history of shunted hydrocephalus, craniosynostosis, skull surgery, or radiographic evidence of intracranial trauma were excluded.

RESULTS

The overall cohort prevalence of PPP was 24.8% (354 patients). PPP prevalence was higher among younger patients from groups 1–3 (40.4%, 33.5%, and 0.8%, respectively). There was a continued decline in PPP by age in groups 4–7 (26.4%, 20%, 20%, and 10.8%, respectively). Mild cranial vault asymmetry was noted most often (78.0%, 276 patients), followed by moderate (19.5%, 69 patients) and severe (2.5%, 9 patients). There were no patients in group 6 or 7 with severe PPP.

CONCLUSIONS

PPP is prevalent in pediatric populations and most commonly presents as a case of mild asymmetry. Although there was an overall decline of PPP prevalence with increasing age, moderate asymmetry was seen in all age groups. No patients in the cohort had severe asymmetry that persisted into adolescence.