Objective: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of helmet therapy for deformational plagiocephaly in patients with shunted hydrocephalus. Design: Retrospective chart review. Setting: Institutional, tertiary-care hospital. Patients: All patients at St. Louis Children's Hospital between 2014 and 2021 with shunted hydrocephalus who underwent helmet therapy for deformational plagiocephaly. Interventions: Helmet therapy. Main Outcome Measures: Cranial vault asymmetry (CVA), cranial vault asymmetry index (CVAI), and cephalic index (CI) were measured before and after completion of helmet therapy. Results: There were 37 patients with shunted hydrocephalus and documented deformational plagiocephaly. Twelve were managed with helmet therapy. Average age at helmeting initiation and time between shunt placement and helmeting initiation was 5.8 and 4.6 months, respectively. Average CVA, CVAI, and CI at helmeting initiation and termination was 11.6, 7.98, and 85.2, and 6.95, 4.49, and 83.7, respectively. Average duration of helmeting was 3.7 months. CVA and CVAI were significantly lower after helmeting (P =.0028 and.0021) and 11/12 patients had overall improvement in plagiocephaly. Conclusions: Helmet therapy appears to be a safe and efficacious management strategy for deformational plagiocephaly in patients with shunted hydrocephalus. Despite the occasional need for additional fittings and surveillance beyond the normal schedule, in all cases appropriately fitting helmets were achieved and no major adverse events occurred. This cohort represents a proof of principle for the safety and efficacy of helmet therapy in patients with shunted hydrocephalus. Further work in larger prospective cohorts is needed to confirm these initial findings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • cranial molding orthosis
  • deformational plagiocephaly
  • helmeting
  • hydrocephalus
  • ventriculoperitoneal shunt


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